Christmas Meetings Review
A first blog of 2015, I wish you all a happy and prosperous New Year. Roll on .
We would be on the road to if I were to review all the Christmas action. Instead, I will have a quick look at the movers in both Champion Stakes tables and a few of the trial stake winners from over the Christmas period.
In the Champion Stakes, the main movers are Malone (Jingles/ Millie) and Kyle Roger ( Dynamo/Uptown Dilemma) who both moved onto ten points after victory in both the Garman Cup (16) and the Kingdom Cup (32) respectively.
Master ( Magic/ Swagger) landed the Jubilee All-Age Cup at and the Derby semi-finalist moved into the top sixteen for the Champion Stakes. Benny (Bexhill Eoin/ Polly) was successful for the second time this season in the Cork Cup and also moved onto eight points.
Impressive winner and the most notable mover of the week is Needham Danger (Bexhill Eoin/ Rain), who moved to the top of the Champion Stakes table with victory in the Corn Na All-Age. The winner followed up on his victory and did not have a final to run as kennel companion Needham Simple was withdrawn beforehand. He has set a high standard in both his outings this season and could well start favourite for the Champion Stakes in February.
Laurence and Brian Jones were victorious in the Corn at Dundalk with Figaro ( Dynamo/), last year’s Derby Trial Stake winner on the same field. The unfortunate member of that stake was undoubtedly Charlie (10pts). He was carried off after he sustained a visible injury, how serious is unknown to me, but it will surely be a race against time to get him back on the field this season.
The Champion Bitch Stake had a major shake-up over the Christmas Meetings. Careful Betty (Bexhill Eoin/Inspiring) and Baby (Jingles/ ) both moved onto ten points after victory in Co. Kerry and respectively. Both ladies are safe in terms of qualification and look likely to be joined by last season’s Oaks winner ( Dynamo/Moat Belle) who landed the All-Age Bitch Stake at . She will be the star attraction in as she bids to follow up her great victory of last season.
Another mover in the Champion Bitch Stake was Loyal Lyric (Musical Time/ Smurf), beaten in the Wexford All-Age Bitch Stake final by View (Adios Alonso/ View), she picked up two points to add to the six she has already bagged this season.
Two Trial Stake winners this week make some appeal having performed consistently well throughout the season. Jessie (Adios Alonso/ Lady) and Charm (Adios Alonso/Exact Science) both landed their Oaks tickets over the Christmas meetings at and Roscommon respectively. Both ladies had already been beaten finalists in two trial stakes each and picked up well deserved victories this time round.
meeting provided a number of pointers for as Master and now look to have booked their Champion Stakes placing’s and both trial stake winners providing talking points. Also on show were seven trial stake winners and a runner-up in the Champion Puppy Stake. On this occasion it was the runner-up (Central City/Moat Lady) who came out on top. She was fastest throughout and beat the and Derby Trial Stake winner Arcade Maximus in the final. Although the winner hasn’t won a trial stake she replaces Pearl in the Oaks line-up as she has been withdrawn.
More Derby and Oaks performers were in action in the prestigious Corn Na Puppy Stake. Michael O’Donovan is having a great season to date and that continued in great fashion as both his runners and Serene Angel reached the final. Serene Angel was declared winner of the event after was withdrawn. Connections can now look forward to their runners taking their places in the Classic itself.
The Trial Stakes at were also won by runners who had shown a good level of form. Cash Call (Adios Alonso/ Lady) joined his sister Jessie in the Classics line-up with victory in the Derby Trial Stake. Previously a runner-up at , Cash Call went one better here for trainer Pat O’Connor. The Oaks Trial Stake went to Cryptic Kerry (Razor / Lass). Previously a runner-up at and beaten by the winner in the third round at Galway and , Kerry booked her ticket this week with victory over .
It is little over three weeks since Hi Five Yankee became the latest of Ellen’s offspring to win when she collected the Mitchelstown Reserve Oaks Trial Stake. She captured her full ticket at on New Year’s Day and has now become the second puppy to land a reserve and full ticket this season. Also at , Rio ( Dynamo/ Pegasus) landed the Russell Cup. Although his victory has not impacted on the Champion Stakes listings, this is Rio’s best performance of the season, returning from a break since Waterford’s late October meeting. Blue , Derby qualifier put up a notable performance with a runner-up display here.
The North Cork Cup gets underway at tomorrow (Friday) and there are a number of runners who could have an impact on the Champion Stakes standings. Mystic (6pts) and Avenue Ranger (8pts) are both in the top half, wins for either would surely see them safe. In The Centre (4pts) is another in the top half and will need a win to feature in the Classic. Charlie (8pts) meets (4pts) in a first round buckle which will be of great interest in the bottom half. Roquefort Barney and Blazing Music both sit on four points and will also need outright victories to contest the Champion Stakes.
Another event which may have a big effect on the Champion Stakes placing’s is the €4,000 Premier Cup at . , Power of Peace and Downtown James all have four points in the top quarter while Crafty Who sits on six points. Wins for any of these runners will secure a position in the field in and a final appearance may be enough for some runners. Sunlight is the runner in the second quarter which makes most appeal, with six points already collected this season, he will also look to secure his place. The winner of the Glory and Conor course in the first round will have a good chance of collecting points, currently has two points from his only outing while Conor was a recent winner at . Blues may well be best in the bottom quarter and with her four points already collected, she will look to follow Loyal Lyric’s strides and pick up the six points at stake to seal a Champion Bitch Stake place.
All-Age Bitch Stake can play a part in the final placing’s for the Champion Bitch Stake also. Last year’s winner Secret (4pts) is back in the line-up and looks best in the top half. winner Maggie Dan (4pts) looks like she can reach the semi-final here where her opponent looks likely to come from the buckle between recent North Kilkenny winner, Fire Height and this season’s surprise package Sceptre (8pts).