For different reasons the ‘Last 8’ for the 2020 BoyleSports Irish Coursing Derby and the Horse & Jockey Hotel Irish Coursing Oaks are missing some of the names which may have been expected to feature. However there is no doubt but the 16 greyhounds remaining have run their hearts out to make it into Day 3 and give their connections a National Meeting to remember.
Today’s third round of the BoyleSports Derby saw Foxhollow Adios withdrawn injured and Callaway Rambler defeated after being nicely in front to half way. His conqueror, the Gerry Holian trained Upper Hand and the Kevin Barry trained Mad Mans Game now deservedly head the betting market. Both are syndicate owned as indeed are three other quarter-finalists Catalpa Voyage, Bank Defect & Soul Man.
Mad Mans Game & Soul Man run for two local Clonmel/Kilsheelan/Carrick-0n-Suir syndicates namely the Flannery-Quinn-Walsh Synd and the Seven Drops Synd, the Part of a Dream Synd who own Upper Hand are Kent based but with Tipperary connections, Catalpa Voyage belongs to the Heeney family Synd from Ennis and the Royal Rebel Synd (Bank Defect) as the name implies has a mixture of Meath & Cork natives to the fore of its membership.
The three remaining greyhounds may not be syndicate owned but they are not short of support judging by the cheering from the stands. Longway Rio runs in the joint ownership of Cavan man Keith Reilly and his dad Harry who sadly passed away a few weeks ago. Gingerbread Bud (a full younger brother to 2017 Oaks winner Knockout Glory) is owned by Fiachra O’Callaghan, son of Ger from Kilkenny who has a long association with the Maxi Collins kennels and finally Snap Streak is jointly owned by Cillian Brosnan & James Enright who hail from that hotbed of coursing in Tarbert. The aforementioned Gerry Holian, Kevin Barry & Maxi Collins are joined by trainers Dessie Kerrigan, Sean Heeney, Davy Reynolds, Patrick O’Connor and Declan Byrne in the quarter-finals.
Following a delay to this season following the RHD2 outbreak, Lets Get Started was a very appropriately named winner of the Oaks trial stake at Kilflynn. She started but certainly hasn’t finished and gives Donal & Kathleen Casey O’Connell, Abbeydorney an outstanding chance in the Horse & Jockey Hotel Oaks. Tomorrow morning she meets the Mossie Ó Connor trained Gooleen Wonder (a full younger sister to 2018 Derby winner Silent Whisper) which runs for Kilrush owner Eilish O’Sullivan & her son Dermot. Irish Cup & Kitty Butler Stake sponsor John O’Sullivan (Dublin Coach) would be another son of Eilish. Brendan Matthews (Newry) & Nora Raleigh (Adare) teamed up in 2018 to win the Oaks with Foxhollow Lady and will be fancied by many to repeat the feat with her younger half-sister Foxhollow Queen. Ante post Derby fav Glorious Glin never made it to Clonmel but his sister Tobarmartin Mags is doing him proud and gives trainer John Mulcahy from Ballyclerihan, outside Clonmel, a runner in both halves of the Oaks tomorrow. Mags was a wedding present to Davina Doyle, Greystones last year from Sean Egan, Tarbert who retained a half share.
Safe Date caught many an eye when she won the Cappoquin Oaks TS at the Doon meeting and has won even more admirers at Powerstown Park this weekend. She would be a popular winner for owner/trainer Willie O’Shea, Killarney. The Paradise prefix has enjoyed many a success on the tracks but the Meade family, Miltown Malbay always loved to course a few also and Sean now finds himself in an Oaks quarter-final with Paradise Georgia.
Scientific, a sister of Gooleen Wonder, went on all the short lists after qualifying at Ballyduff and Cllr Bobby O’Connell, Castleisland will temporarily forget about general election results if this second Mossie O’Connor trained quarter finalist does the business. Finally but certainly not least we have the second of the John Mulcahy trained runners Please Abbie (a sister to Snap Streak) which John himself owns jointly with Dermot McCarthy, Kilmallock.
So the scene is set for what should be a great Finals Day which will also feature the Kevin Smith Champion Stakes, the Grace & Matt Bruton Champion Bitch Stake, the Dublin Coach Kitty Butler Stakes and the Stockproof Fencing TA Morris Stakes. Four months ago a 2020 National Meeting was in the balance so show your support for all those who worked so hard to make it happen by coming along tomorrow. After today’s results there will be great value on offer for Singles, Doubles & Trebles on the bookmakers boards so the message is to get there early and enjoy !!.