Many congratulations to Tim & Master Marc Nolan, Castleisland who are joint owners of 2017 Corn Na Feile Derby winner Silent Whisper and to Darragh & Evan Morrissey, Graigue, Rathdowney who are joint owners of 2017 Corn Na Feile Oaks winner Graigues Legacy. Well done also to the host club who had to overcome a first day postponement but then ran a most enjoyable meeting in front of a huge crowd both days. The appetite is now well and truly whetted for the National Meeting in February.
From the moment the draw was made on St Stephen’s Night the experts predicted that Silent Whisper and Outoftheshadow would progress to meet in the final of Corn Na Feile Derby and that was exactly how it worked out. However whilst Silent Whisper was beating very decent dogs in independent fashion it was Outoftheshadow who was grabbing all the attention with some amazing clocks. And so it was the latter who went to slips for the decider as the very warm favourite. In a most exciting finale to the meeting Silent Whisper came away best and held on by the narrowest of margins to gain the Judge’s decision. Outoftheshadow lost nothing in defeat and both greyhounds will be fancied to go a long way in Powerstown and perhaps even emulate last season’s Corn Na Feile winner Reikers Island.
For the first time in many years there was a separate Corn Na Feile Oaks for 16 Oaks qualifiers and it proved an outstanding addition to the programme. Graigues Legacy caught the eye of many shrewd judges in the first round but still had to overcome more fancied runners in the second & third rounds. This she did admirably and then ran out a comfortable winner in the final over the local hope Cill Ide Bliss. Her semi-final clock in particular stood out and will have her youthful owners dreaming of Clonmel success for the next six weeks.
There was only ever going to be one winner of the Corn Na Feile All Age and not only does Blades Of Fire now share a place on the Abbeyfeale roll of honour with his litter brother Reikers Island but he is also guaranteed a place in the Kevin Smith Champion Stakes where he is likely to start a very short favourite. It was a good day too though for the runner-up Straightlegs who has now jumped to fifth place on the Champion Bitch Stakes leaderboard, a remarkable achievement considering she started the season by winning a three course duffer in Kilflynn (incidentally the runner-up in that Duffer was Set Sail who last Wednesday won the Cork Cup !!).
Congratulations also to Noel Browne, owner of Derby TS winner Coolavanny Juno, who must be delighted to be heading to Clonmel with a Derby qualifier by his own 2016 Derby Champion and to Ger Kerins & James Lowe, owners of Oaks TS winner Hows Mrs Foley who will now be joining her litter brothers Kyle Steel & Goodbye Venice at Powerstown Park on February 10th.