There was some great coursing at Patrickswell again today, especially in the morning session, and Co Limerick CC are to be congratulated on the fare produced so far. Here’s hoping for more of the same tomorrow. The phrase ‘there on merit’ is possibly overused but it certainly applies to the eight greyhounds remaining in contention for the 2018 Irish Cup. It may not be the ‘last eight’ we expected but each of them has got to Day 3 thanks to top class performances and no such thing as a fluke or being lucky.
JAMESS TREASURE: Very consistent all season and won Slaney Cup as well as very good run in Kingdom Cup. Trainer was very happy with his preparation for this and quietly fancied by some shrewd judges. Switched to red collar side very quickly in RD1 yesterday and best performance probably came this afternoon when on the red for first time. Blessed with good early pace and gamey like his dam Fives Treasure who was an Irish Cup quarter-finalist in 2013.
ASHMORE ROCKET: Made an early exit at paws of Skellig Shane in first round here last year but looking stronger this season. Only found Ballygerald Buzz & Reikers Island too good in the Cup finals at Edenderry & Johnstown. Finished his course with Ham And Inch very well this afternoon despite a bump in early part of course. Unsurprisingly he is now second favourite.
WATCHMAN: Reputation of this pup completely restored with two top class runs today including a best of meeting clock of 11.10. Long slips valid excuse for going unsighted at Clonmel & again temporarily here yesterday. Slight concern that his quarter-final opponent has brilliant early and could lead him out but showed in RD1 that he can come from behind too. Owners would be thrilled to see their Champion Bitch Stakes winner Bossa Nova Babe produce a Classic winner. New favourite.
ASKCHARLESOLIVER: Beautiful looking almost white greyhound came right back into form when winning Cup at Macroom in mid January and has improved again judging by three runs so far here. Blistering early caught Champion Stakes winner Kyle Mozart flat-footed this afternoon and then held determined late challenge. With another good start tomorrow morning he could put the favourite under pressure.
ALWAYS INTHE RUN: This pup is as genuine as they come and reminds one of 2013 winner Carricktobin Lad in a number of ways. The Moat bloodlines once again dominated the Derby & Oaks in Clonmel and this striking black & white makes the big treble possible. He was drawn in what looked the easier part of the draw but can only beat what he meets and clock this afternoon was impressive.
DROMTULLABEG: Regarded widely as one of the fastest in training and all season no one wanted to meet him in early rounds of the All Ages he contested. Latest outings before Irish Cup suggested his form was on the wane but maybe he only needed a rest and hasn’t put a paw wrong so far this weekend.
BARRACK BRUCE: Another which everyone expected to put in a few fast runs early and then drop away. Certainly didn’t drop away in time for Skellig Shane this afternoon and ensured a new name will go on Irish Cup tomorrow afternoon. Connections bred Dicks Bimbo but would love to win their own classic. Still very possible.
LONGWAY HOME: Representing the third season brigade very well. Won the Gold Cup at East Donegal the same day Foxhollow Lady qualified there for the Oaks. He then returned a few weeks later to win the Cup at their second meeting. Despite his age he could have the greater stamina in bottom half and a potential finalist.
In the Patsy Byrne Select Bitch Stake we have some terrific quarter-finals in store tomorrow morning and it would be very brave to even attempt predicting the two finalists. Killucan Rose ran very well here last year just a few weeks after winning the Champion Bitch Stake at Clonmel. It would be an historic double were she to lift this prestigious stake but has dangers lurking in every course.
Ballinveala Yolo remains the one to beat in the Woodlands House Hotel Irish Purse if the couple of tight wrenches this afternoon haven’t affected him. Dual Cup winner Chicago Shuffle ran one of his best courses in a while this afternoon and could be the biggest danger.
The Bill Chawke Irish Plate is also wide open with Barefoot Marine & Rosskeen Colonel taking on six pups. Central Preacher put in a very good performance against Wheres Mr Wilks in RD1 and might be worth a small wager at a decent price.
Coursing resumes at 11.30am tomorrow morning so make sure you are there to enjoy the final day of the 2017/18 season and what should be some very exciting coursing.