Offspring of Moat Matilda, purchased by Noreen McManus for the 2016 Oaks after qualifying for the Fieldings at North Kilkenny, are this evening heading the betting markets for both the 2019 BoyleSports Derby and Horse & Jockey Hotel Oaks. For good measure a third member of the New Inn Wonder – Moat Matilda litter is still very much in contention for Derby honours also. Followers of breeding will be taking note that Newinn Wonder has five Derby & Oaks quarter-finalists, Adios Alonso has four, new sire Blades Of Hope has two and Coolavanny Bingo, Crafty Gonzalo, Killimor Matey, Kyle Leigh & Mafi Magic have one each.
There was no sisterly love however this afternoon when Outstanding Lady eliminated her litter comrade & ante-post Oaks favourite Newinn Fifi in the biggest shock so far of the 94th National Meeting. It was a terrific performance from the Killimer Kilrush qualifier and she may not be finished yet. She now meets Rub And Tug whose owners ‘The Eye Candy Syndicate’ have been dreaming of this week in Clonmel since she won the Kilflynn Oaks TS on Sept 30th. The first quarter-final will be contested by another early qualifier Ballymac Enya representing Glin and Sminky Star which took the very last Oaks ticket of the season at Macroom. Both of these ladies are running exceptionally well and a great buckle is in store. Jackie Farrell was advised by her trainer that she had the weakest link of his formidable team but her Miltown Malbay qualifier Cheerful Blonde now finds herself in the last eight of the Oaks. There she will meet Crafty Perfecto whose owner does not have ICC Presidential duties for the first time in 11 years but could easily find himself on the podium for a different reason tomorrow afternoon if his Galway & Oranmore trial stake winner keeps running like she did today. And then we come to the final quarter which houses the new Oaks favourite Cha Cha Matilda, running for the McDaid, McManus, Foley syndicate. This Castleisland qualifier is running the Powerstown hill extremely well and was very impressive when she raced by her early paced opponent this morning after looking to be in trouble momentarily. By coincidence she now meets Westlimerickrose which won the Loughrea Oaks TS at the same meeting as Cha Cha’s owners won the Derby TS with their new Derby favourite Return Ticket and in another coincidence Noreen McManus has Westlimerickrose drawn in the Classics Club.
Ever since Abbeyfeale, coursing enthusiasts have spoken of a rematch between Boylesportsmagic and Huntingtown and will get their wish in the first quarter-final of the BoyleSports Derby. In that Abbeyfeale Derby TS semi-final Boylesportsmagic (then known as Ballymac Whisper) had only half a length to spare and went on to win the final. Two weeks later Huntingtown took the Ballymena Derby ticket at Tubbercurry. Both greyhounds had battles on their hands at various stages today but coped very well. Next up will be the Gorey qualifier Oakview Leigh and the Fermoy qualifier Moonraker. Oakview Leigh was originally a 40/1 chance but is proving a real surprise packet and putting in one polished performance after another. Moonraker gave the bravest display of the day when he came back a second time near the escape to deny Somelittlerazor a third day appearance. We mentioned in our Day 1 report that the third quarter would be very intriguing and so it proved. The winning of the quarter is now between the Gerry Holian trained Itstheonlyway (representing Roscommon) and the Kevin Barry trained Rumour Has It (representing Edenderry who last season sent us Watchman so not easy to win that Derby TS !!!). This could be another thriller of a course. Finally we have the new Derby favourite & Loughrea qualifier Return Ticket who stopped the clock the fastest in both rounds today and never looked in trouble. He meets Undersupervision which runs on the Clonmel & Kilsheelan ticket and of course subsequently won the All Age Cup at Cappoquin for his Henrys Disciples Syndicate. He benefited from a bye this afternoon when the two greyhounds below him were involved in the only unsatisfactory course of the day. Ballinveala Toro was well in command only for both greyhounds to lose sight resulting in a back-to-slips. Connections of Toro took the decision to withdraw at that stage and whilst Durango Johnny did run a Bye course he too was then withdrawn from round three.
It really was another great day at Clonmel and our dearest wish is for more of the same tomorrow when all six stakes including the Kevin Smith Champion Stakes and Grace & Matt Bruton Champion Bitch Stakes will be concluded. The Derby & Oaks are hugely competitive still and don’t be surprised if there are plenty more upsets along the way. Handicaps (see below) are probably the fairest in years and due in no small way to the new layout at the top of the field. The action gets underway at 11.00am with the Dublin Coach Kitty Butler Stakes and the Stockproof Fencing Products TA Morris Stakes in which Wi Can There will be raging hot favourite after his impressive 11.97 and 12.08 clocks today.
Oaks Handicap: Sminky Star 93; Rub And Tug 90; Cha Cha Matilda 83; Outstanding Lady 82; Westlimerickrose 80; Cheerful Blonde 78; Ballymac Enya 74; Crafty Perfecto 72.
Derby Handicap: Itstheonlyway 89; Oakview Leigh 87; Undersupervision 86; Rumour Has It 85; Huntingtown 81; Boylesportsmagic 76; Return Ticket 75; Moonraker 72.
Clocks & Latest Betting in Quick Results.
Photo has Mark, Leah & Ellen Linehan with their Oaks quarter-finalist Sminky Star