From: news

Best Of Luck

Catchers 2 1a

The very best of luck to connections of the 139 runners who will be heading to Powerstown Park tomorrow morning in search of the ‘Holy Grail’. For some, simply raising a flag to ensure a return trip on Monday will be enough to spark off celebrations in the town’s bars & hotels tomorrow evening. Others will have the bar raised to a Final Day appearance and who knows what may happen then. Of course the ultimate dream for every coursing woman, man & child is to be on that podium on Tuesday afternoon circa 3.30pm. We know the ones that the bookmakers and the shrewd followers of form expect to be accepting the silverware. However in recent years for every Adios Alonso, Thomas The Tank & Graceandglamour that justified favouritism or near favouritism there has also been a Central City, Feel My Pulse & Fortuna that belied their fancy odds when they came to Clonmel.
For the third successive year Abbeyfeale could prove to be the line of form to keep onside. For years regarded as the best forerunner to Clonmel, it lost its significance somewhat for a time. However Derby successes in 2017 & 2018 for Corn Na Feile winners Reikers Island & Silent Whisper have restored its lofty reputation and no less than three winners from their recent meeting, Picture House (Corn Na Feile Derby), Newinn Fifi (Corn Na Feile Oaks) and Boylesportsmagic (Derby TS) are widely touted as possible Clonmel winners. Unfortunately the Abbeyfeale Oaks qualifier Saleen Julie is a non-runner.
2018 was one of those rare years that Gerry Holian left Clonmel empty handed. However the Galway man returns with 13 qualifiers for this year’s Festival. The chances of none can be dismissed but the word on the ground is that Cha Cha Matilda & Elegant Wonder may have the edge. And the Tailteann prefix makes a welcome return to the National Meeting, both in the care of Gerry also. 2018 saw a very first Oaks success for Brendan Matthews and the Newry maestro teams up again with Nora Raleigh in search of an Oaks double. Despite having had to withdraw Needham Ougham yesterday, he remains very much in the contest for a 6th Derby success too with either Huntingtown or Bexhill Liam.
For Liam Dowling it has been a season to remember so far and he heads to Clonmel with no less than six ‘Ballymacs’ (if you count the previously named Ballymac Whisper, now running as Boylesportsmagic). The first name drawn from the hat last Friday night was Ballymac Enya and if she raises the first flag of the meeting it could be the start of a wonderful three days for the Ballymacelligott based family. It could be a wonderful three days also for the many owners and syndicate members who are having their first ever runner at Clonmel. For connections of Slan Abhaile and Tromora Basil their Derby dream only began yesterday when they received the news that they would be coming in from the Reserves bench. A little bit of symmetry in that the Hogans from Quilty in Clare had the first runner into the Oaks when Tromora Bliss qualified in Liscannor and may possibly have the last dog to get into the Derby.
After overnight frost it has been a bright sunny Saturday here in South Tipperary. For fear of ‘putting the mockers on’ we won’t make too many predictions about the weather to come but we are very hopeful that the first brace will go to slips as scheduled at 11am tomorrow morning. Without doubt the newly designed escape and top of field will come in for plenty comment as people start to arrive at the racecourse for Day 1. No decision was taken lightly and many views were listened to, so the wish of every true and genuine coursing enthusiast is surely that those changes will generate the desired result. Here’s to a 94th National Coursing Meeting that will live long in the memory for all the right reasons. #LongLiveCoursing #Clonmel2019