The Galway Shawl & The Rose of Tralee will be sung with gusto tonight following the terrific victories at Powerstown Park today of Rumour Has It (in BoyleSports Derby) and Ballymac Enya (in Horse & Jockey Hotel Oaks). The Rose will be sung twice as often because the Kevin Smith Champion Stakes also headed to Kerry thanks to Ahamore Wonder. Not content with the Liam McCarthy Cup , Limerick now has the Grace & Matt Bruton Champion Bitch Stake trophy too, courtesy of Blades Of Honour. Co Laois does not feature on the honours board at Clonmel very often but the trophy for the Dublin Coach Kitty Butler Stakes is in Portlaoise tonight after Laurina came out best in the closest final of the meeting. As for Sweden, they may have won many Eurovision Song Contests but it is highly unlikely that they ever won a Stockproof Fencing Products TA Morris Stakes before Wi Can There gave Lars & Mats Wicander a day to remember in Clonmel this afternoon. Finally, not to be outdone it was a Clareman, Joe Kelly, who had the honour of singing the National Anthem before the finals of the 94th National Coursing Meeting.
Just a few weeks short of 12 months since they celebrated winning an Irish Cup, Bernie & Basil Holian and trainer Kevin Barry are now the proud owners of a BoyleSports Irish Coursing Derby winner also. Rumour Has It had many battles to overcome over the three days, not least in RD1 when he found himself a few lengths behind at halfway. However he kept his best performance for last and this son of Adios Alonso-Duchess, bred by Basil & Bernie, was a most worthy winner. No doubt Basil would have loved to have had his great friend, the late Richie Maher, there today to share in this success. Nine years ago Basil, Richie & John O’Sullivan teamed up to win the Derby with the sire of this newest champ.
The Dowling family and their Ballymac prefix have had memorable days on the track but never hid their great love for coursing also. They had a formidable team of dogs & bitches coming to Clonmel this year and were rewarded with a first Horse & Jockey Hotel Oaks. Ballymac Enya was the first name drawn from the hat on the night of the National Meeting draw and opened the meeting with a stylish performance up the Powerstown Hill on Sunday morning. The daughter of Coolavanny Bingo – Ballymac Town, a May whelp bred by the Dowlings themselves, continued to impress in every round, as her sire had three years ago when winning the Derby.
What a year it has been so far for the Galvin family from Lixnaw. In the first seven days of 2019 they had won the Cups at Galbally & Templetouhy, as Reserve Slipper young David Galvin got the opportunity to make his National Meeting debut in the opening rounds of the Kitty Butler & TA Morris Stakes and then to cap it all, Ahamore Wonder owned by David’s father Martin and uncle Muiris today won the Kevin Smith Champion Stakes. This beautiful trophy can now sit beside the Deise Cup & Premier Cup won previously by the son of Newinn Wonder and Areyoureadynow who is trained by Dan Brassil.
Nine years after her dam Blades Of Glory suffered a career ending injury in the final of the Champion Bitch Stake, Blades Of Honour today put things right by running out an excellent winner of the Grace & Matt Bruton Champion Bitch Stakes for Tara Guiney from Rathkeale and trainer Gerry Holian. To be truthful, what happened Blades Of Honour last year in the Oaks was one of the reasons that DJ & his team at Powerstown looked at modifying the escape & top of the field, with those changes attracting very positive comments over the last three days. So perhaps there was a little bit of karma today with the success of this daughter of Adios Alonso.
Every couple of years we have a greyhound in one of the Consolation Stakes which has us all commenting on how well he or she would have performed in the Derby or Oaks if things had been different. However it is usually an unlucky first round loser. On this occasion it was a reserve, Wi Can There (Newinn Wonder – Central Stardust) which did not make it into the Derby proper but then hit us with one fast clock after another in the Stockproof Fencing TA Morris Stakes. That includes the clock he recorded in his course for reserves on Day 1. It has sent his owners, brothers Lars & Mats Wicander back home to Sweden as two very happy men and has the rest of us scratching our heads as to how he had never won a full Derby trial stake. Congratulations to trainer Gerry Holian and to Noel & Molly Loughnane also.
The first leg of Gerry Holian’s treble came about this afternoon when Laurina won the Dublin Coach Kitty Butler Stakes. The daughter of Blades Of Hope – Adios Belle was quietly fancied for the Oaks but bowed out to Crafty Cuckoo in the opening round. However it was not to be the last we saw of her and in a thrilling final to the Kitty Butler she just held off the late challenge of her opponent, a most popular success for Ray Conroy & Ollie Dunne from Portlaoise. Indeed her supporters packed the podium for the trophy presentation and set a trend for the presentations which followed.
All of us involved in coursing at Club level know only too well that you are only as good as your last meeting. So no doubt but soon after the dust has settled on the 94th National Meeting the team at Powerstown will look at every aspect of this one with a view to 2020. However for now it is only right that we congratulate each and every one of them on a wonderful National Meeting and say thank you.