Since moving to Limerick racecourse in 2004 the Irish Cup has consistently produced a top class winner and the latest addition to the roll of honour, Watchman, is no exception. Owned by Basil Holian & his wife Bernie Diskin-Holian, Kilcolgan, Galway: trained by Kevin Barry near the famed Ballydoyle stables outside Rosegreen; nominated by Pat Savage in Slane. His closest call came in the semi-final where judge Paul Horan was called into action with little between himself and Jamess Treasure. However back on the favoured red collar he was soon in control in the final against the gallant Always Inthe Run which totally belied his starting odds of 40/1. Watchman won the Edenderry trial stake in October and was regarded as a huge Derby contender only to go unsighted in the first round. Adding to the delight of the Holian’s must be that fact that this son of Newinn Wonder was bred from their own 2013 Champion Bitch Stake winner Bossa Nova Babe.
Compensation for connections of Always Inthe Run came in the Bill Chawke Irish Plate when his litter brother Clash Bruno proved too good for Rosskeen Colonel. It was a fantastic turnaround in luck for this dog as he had gone wrong when leading in the Gorey Derby TS final in December. A great training performance too from Ian Murray & Sean O’Hanlon.
Chooseyourweapon had to be withdrawn from the Cup final at Sevenhouses last month after a heavy hunt but he too was compensated when he took the Woodlands House Hotel Irish Purse for Darren Holmes & Nick McDowell. The early pace of Askcharlesoliver upset him in the Irish Cup on Friday but he ran terrific throughout the Purse leading Bagsy The Front all the way in the final.
And in keeping with the theme of compensation for greyhounds unlucky on their previous outing, the cap certainly fits with Patsy Byrne Select Bitch Stake winner Mad Decision. Clearly on her way to victory in the third round of the Oaks two weeks ago today when the hare swung right leaving her unsighted, she was an outstanding winner today of this very competitive event over Jamaica Judy. Congrats to the Windfarm Syndicate c/o Michael Eustace and trainer Pat Curtin. Remarkably Mad Decision won her Oaks TS at Edenderry so how hot were those two trial stakes !!!.
It was written in the stars that Lawlee Four would win the Earl Of Dunraven Kilgobbin Puppy Stake and the loudest cheer of the day came when this Mike Lawlee owned pup came upfield in front. As everyone knows Mike passed away a few days after Clonmel and much has been written since about the great character he was. No doubt he was looking down as Dan Brassil brought his charge to slips this afternoon for the final against kennel-mate Rockanes Steel.
The Kyle Invitational Champion Working Members Stake with a first prize of €2,000 is a great attraction at this meeting and the honours for 2018 went to the Co Kerry representative Lisloose Wonder, bred in the purple with an Irish Cup winning sire and an Oaks winning dam. Congrats to Liam Lynch and Seamus Begley who of course won the Oaks in 2010 with her dam Lisloose Accord. Liam is very active with Co Kerry CC and Seamus is the hardworking secretary at Wexford CC so this success is richly deserved. The runner-up was the Ballyheigue representative Gracor Tank.
And so concluded a most successful Irish Cup meeting, possibly the best since coming to this venue. The field was in great condition and the hares an absolute credit to the hare husbandry committee. It’s not easy to get it right every year, and there is certainly no place in our sport for us to be turning on each other when things don’t go right on the odd occasion, but Co Limerick CC members take a bow for sending us all home very happy this evening and counting down the days to the opening of the new season. # Long Live Coursing.