The 95th National Coursing Meeting concluded in Clonmel today with some of the best finals seen at the venue for a long time and six outstanding winners. Afterwards there were some very familiar faces back on the presentation podium but plenty of new ones too. All coursing supporters everywhere will be thrilled that loyal Derby sponsor John Boyle took the Kevin Smith Champion Stakes with his own Boylesportsmagic.
The 2020 Boylesports Derby winner is the Ardpatrick & Kilfinane qualifier Upper Hand. Owned by the Teresa Cahill (Kent) led ‘Part Of A Dream Syndicate’, trained by multiple Classic winning trainer Gerry Holian and bred by Liam Farrell. He was the morning favourite having ousted Callaway Rambler in the third round. He came from behind Soul Man, held off the late challenge of Snap Streak and then in a brilliant final where the lead changed twice he powered up the Powerstown Hill to defeat a gallant Gingerbread Bud. He is a son of Newinn Wonder – Nomore Lily.
The 2020 Horse & Jockey Hotel Oaks winner is the Regional qualifier Foxhollow Queen. A half-sister to 2018 Oaks heroine Foxhollow Lady and running for the same connections, joint owners Brendan Matthews (Newry) & Nora Raleigh (Adare), trained by Brendan and bred by John Flynn from his own 2014 Oaks winner Somelittlething with Adios Alonso the sire the successful sire on this occasion. Brendan & Nora may have come to Clonmel with high hopes of her brother Foxhollow Adios winning the Derby (withdrawn injured from third round) but this lady didn’t put a paw wrong all weekend. Having enjoyed comfortable successes over Tobarmartin Mags and Lets Get Started she was put to the test in the final by the early pace of Please Abbie. The runner-up lost nothing in defeat but the ‘Queen’ showed devastating foot from halfway.
Boylesportsmagic (Mafi Magic – Ballymac Adelpha) was magic today and lit up the packed stands with his ‘come from behind’ performances in the semi-finals and final of the Kevin Smith Champion Stakes. As already stated it was a most popular success for John and Liam Boyle but it also ensured trainer Liam Dowling and his family were back on the podium 12 months after their Oaks success. It was heartbreak of course for Shane Flanagan & the Hey You Sir Syndicate as their triple Cup winner Netflixandchill looked to be on his way to success for most of the final.
30 years exactly after winning the Champion Stakes with Crafty Roberto, Brian Divilly was in the winners’ enclosure this afternoon, with his family Noelle, Shane & Peter, to celebrate the success of Crafty Perfecto in the Grace & Matt Bruton Champion Bitch Stake. Runner-up in the 2019 Oaks, this daughter of Crafty Gonzalo and Drumcrow Adele once again showed her liking for the venue. She was brilliant in the first course and then battled really well to hold off the challenge of Ballymac Marge in the semi-final. In the final she was paired against Seaside Lucy which had caused a huge shock by eliminating the warm favourite Share The Dream in the semi-final. For a short time in the final Lucy looked to be about to cause another upset but the winner started to motor from half-way.
It was a few days to remember for Nenagh coursing club stalwarts Stephen Noonan and trainer John Kelly who combined to win the Dublin Coach Kitty Butler Stakes with Buggies Rose. She was only first reserve on Friday but ran instead of Breska Wild. In that first round she never left the much fancied Ballymac Amber get away from her so it came as no surprise to see her run so well in this consolation event. The daughter of Newinn Wonder and Bucks Honey qualified at Borris In Ossory and defeated Rockanes Beauty in another super final this afternoon.
At the same meeting at Borris In Ossory it was Blueview Lucky which won the Rathdowney Derby Trial Stake and today he added the Stockproof Fencing TA Morris Stakes for James Maxi Collins, Drogheda and his family. He went out to Highbury in the first round of the Derby but did nothing wrong throughout the TA Morris Stakes and he was joined on the podium by his kennelmate and Derby runner-up Gingerbread Bud. The runner-up here was Boherlode Paddy which had up to then also given his syndicate owners a great few days.
Congratulations to all the winners including Jack Foley (Abbeyfeale) and Bob Shanahan (Limerick) who won the Classics Club 600 Draws, Darren & Danny Quinn from Regional CC and Lee Reale from Ardpatrick & Kilfinane CC who are our winning Patsy Byrne Junior Nominators for this season and finally to those two clubs Regional and Ardpatrick & Kilfinane who will be receiving €1,000 each from Michael Horgan for providing us with this year’s Oaks and Derby winners.
All focus will now be on the Dublin Coach Irish Cup with the draw due to be held tonight (Monday) and the first round starting on Friday at Limerick racecourse. We wish Co Limerick CC every success with same. However it would be remiss of us not to conclude by saying a massive well done to all involved with the running of our 2020 National Meeting and in particular to the hare husbandry team at Powerstown Park. Yes it is our flagship meeting and you did yourselves and our sport proud.