Week 16 Review
The last weekend of Trial Stake action is always crucial and last weekend was no different as the final puppies qualified for the Derby and Oaks and a number of All-Ages sealed their places in both the Kevin Smith Champion Stakes and the Grace Bruton Champion Bitch Stake.
Tubbercurry is the obvious starting point from last weekend with three clubs holding their meetings at the venue.
Ballymena’s Ulster Cup is known for landing the winner in the Champion Stakes and was to do so again last weekend as Tynwald Ash (Razor Ashmore/Jamaica Jane) took the honours to add to his North Kilkenny victory in late December. Tynwald was declared winner prior to the final as kennelmate Make Peace was withdrawn, runner-up in the stake for the second time. The All-Age Bitch Stake was also to prove crucial in terms of Champion Stakes placing’s as City Beauty and Hows She Goin went to slips for the final. Both ladies would have qualified with a victory and it was Brendan Matthew’s City Beauty (Razor Ashmore/Latest Gamble) who did so, booking her place in the Grace Bruton last eight.
Six trial stake winners sealed their Powerstown Park tickets at the meeting. Gerry Holian landed a double with Call Here Alonso (Adios Alonso/Call Up) a sixth Derby qualifier for Noreen and Kieran McManus; and Crossbound (Bexhill Eoin/Graigue Cascade), a third winner from the litter which is a repeat mating of Killimor Matey and his comrades. Brendan Matthew’s collected his first trial stake of the season with Derby qualifier Needham Crystal (Derby Pines/Latest Gamble), a runner who will certainly relish the Powerstown Hill. Tuscan Flavour (Musical Time/Leigh Smokey) was a likeable Oaks qualifier and joins her sister Leigh Snowie in the Oaks field. Annual Assembly (Killimor Matey/Valentia Popstar) and Derramore Star (Wallace Green/Miss Vanity) landed the Ballymena Derby and Oaks qualifiers on the card and completed a very good weekends coursing at the Sligo venue.
Sevenhouses and Clonakilty’s All-Age Stakes also had a say in the standings for the National Meeting.
Hotspot (Droopys Scolari/Carlbush Jill) improved his Sevenhouses record with a victory in the Seamus Hughes Cup. A winner of the Champion Working Members last year, he added to his Enniscorthy victory here and now sits in a reserve position for the Champion Stakes with a realistic chance of being called on before the draw takes place. The Oaks Trial Stake at the meeting went to Cracking Doll (Janey Mac Aroo/Lakyle Vacume), a first trial stake winner of the season for her sire. Positive Timing (Musical Time/Leigh Smokey) took the Reserve Derby Trial Stake honours here with his best performance of the season.
Clonakilty’s All-Age Cup has provided two qualifiers for the Champion Stakes. Skellig Sunlight (Adios Alonso/Skellig Babe) landed the event and moved on to ten points following good performances throughout the season most notably a winner at Cashel and a runner-up at Johnstown and Urlingford. Eastern Shore only had one opponent to beat on the way to the final but collected the two points needed to secure his place. Connections of both runners would have left Clonakilty with a feeling of ‘Job done’ as they secured their tickets late in the season. The All-Age Bitch stake at the meeting went to Floating Cove (Wallace Green/Floating Spirit). A winner already at Cappoquin this season she enhanced her record to eight from nine for the season when beating Ballyheigue winner Maggie Dan in the final. Although now on eight points she may struggle to make the line-up for Clonmel. The Derby Trial Stake at the meeting went to Crafty Resino (Kyle James/Crafty Molino). Twice a semi-finalist early in the season he collected one of the final Derby tickets of the season with victory here. Arcade Amy (Kyle King/Missellenie) landed the Oaks trial stake at the meeting and went one better than her Bandon performance where she ran up to the impressive Manntan Maple.
Macroom brought the club scene to a close on Thursday and Friday of last week and revealed the remaining qualifiers for the National Meeting. Last year’s Tipperary and District winner Bunnow Hulahul (Mafi Magic/La Madrina) tasted victory again with a win in the All-Age Cup. Glenlough Mick went into the stake needing two points to secure a Champion Stakes place and he did just that. Withdrawn before the final Glenlough Mick has been a winner and three times a runner up this season. The final Oaks ticket of the season went to Barrow Cockle (Adios Alonso/Cillowen Stunner). A June puppy who previously caught the eye at Newcastlewest. The Reserve Derby trial stake went to Lineroad Butch (Bexhill Brian/Bridewell Rose), a first trial stake winner of the season for Champion Stakes and Irish Cup winner Bexhill Brian.
The excitement now builds for the most exciting three days of our calendar. I wish all connections an uninterrupted and safe preparation and may we all enjoy another successful National Meeting.