Surely the sign of a coursing superstar must be when the bookmakers will not engage in short odds betting on your courses (against very decent opposition) but instead offer odds on whether you will go under or over a certain clock. Such was the case for both of Watchman’s courses today at the Irish Cup and those punters who went for ‘under’ were cheering the loudest as the reigning champion recorded two identical clocks of 10.96. Just for the record, his three flags so far this weekend have been against Outoftheshadow which won his two courses in the Irish Purse today, Smokey Harvey which enjoyed a very easy success in the Irish Plate RD1 and Boylesportsmagic which we all acknowledge is a top class pup. We may be only halfway but already this has all the hallmarks of one of the all time great performances in an Irish Cup.
None of the above however should take from the other seven runners who have reached the quarter-final stage of the 2019 Irish Cup. There is no huge surprise amongst them and Leading Hand was the biggest price ante-post at 25/1.
The decision by the Purtill family not to go back to slips with Ballinveala Toro in the second round of the Derby is certainly paying off and he has replicated that strong showing at Powerstown Park in each of his three runs here this weekend. He now meets the second season Central Rocker who is the latest in a long line of greyhounds to bring East Donegal form into the third day of an Irish Cup. Remember his dam won the Select Bitch Stake here twice and in the first of those she beat Duchess (dam of Rumour Has It) in the final.
When Part Exchange exited the 2018 Derby at the semi-final stage (after leading for most of the way) it was very much expected that he would win multiple Cups in his second season. That didn’t happen but his performances here this weekend make it all the more harder to understand. A bye course this afternoon will be a huge help to his chances of overturning the aforementioned Watchman tomorrow morning but it is still a mammoth task.
Very often we see pups returning to win Cups at the same venue as they won their trial stake 12 months earlier. So ‘horses for courses’ works for greyhounds too and we shouldn’t be one bit surprised to see 2018 Irish Cup runner-up Always Inthe Run still in contention. Indeed tomorrow he will occupy the very same position as 12 months ago, running from the red collar in the third quarter-final. Can he emulate Drive On Smokey which reached consecutive finals in 2016 & 2017 ?. He meets the big local hope Faha Razor, owned by the Mann family who are synonymous with Co Limerick Coursing Club. He has rewarded the decision of the Irish Cup selection committee to give him a wild card entry by producing three great runs over the last two days. A heavy tumble in the third round could come against him but that remains to be seen.
In our Sporting Press Formguide we mentioned that on a line with Incorruptiblemen there would be very little between Leading Hand and this season’s Derby winner. Therefore the presence of Leading Hand, a son of Oaks winner Dale Roisin, in tomorrow’s fourth quarter-final is a great boost to Clonmel form and indeed he looks capable of enhancing the form even further. He meets another pup, Skellig Skinner, who represents 2017 Irish Cup winning connections, and is doing his own bit for Clonmel 2019 form where he bowed out to Boylesportsmagic & Wi Can There. Both these pups took on and beat more fancied opponents today so well deserve to be returning for Day 3.
Of course no report from Patrickswell today would be complete without a mention of Silent Wonder in the Patsy Byrne Select Bitch Stake. Those of us who thought Catch Kazuri might lead her out of slips were very badly mistaken and like Watchman she gave the performance of a true champion. Certainly though there was much to like also about the way Central Maid (litter sister to Central Rocker) and Cobra Angel ran today and if the favourite’s disrupted preparation since Abbeyfeale comes against her, either of those are capable of taking advantage.
The Bill Chawke Irish Plate cut up a little this afternoon with three byes but is still ultra competitive. Bookmakers will probably put up the two third season runners Post Graduate & Ballygerald Buzz as their favorites tomorrow morning. An equal number of pups and All Ages remain in contention for the Woodlands House Hotel Irish Purse and whilst Kyle Steel is still the one to beat there is not a huge gap between his clocks and those of his opposition with Souldern Street another to catch the eye in RD2.
Coursing was most enjoyable again today and the hares which came out for the Irish Cup in particular were top of the range. Day 3 commences at the later time of 11.30am but get there early as the bookies are certain to be offering a huge range of trebles & accumulators. Those holding the dockets with the Watchman & Silent Wonder doubles might start buying the drinks early tonight expecting a certain payout but as is often said, ‘The greatest certainty in coursing is the uncertainty’.
Clocks & Betting in Quick Results.