Disappointing for the Lennon family, Kilkenny who have had to withdraw both of their runners from tomorrow’s Irish Cup meeting due to kennel sickness. Go Usain Bolt was due to meet Ivy Hill Time in the second quarter of the Irish Cup and the much fancied Tilly The Tank was in the first course of the Patsy Byrne Select Bitch Stake against Chubbys Ruby. We now have three non-runners in the Irish Cup which means RES C Isle Of Destiny will be called in as will the first reserve in the bitch stake, Madonna.
The action gets underway at 11.00am and don’t be late because the favourite and second favourite are running in the first four courses !!
There are two official non-runners in the 2017 Irish Cup which gets underway tomorrow, Friday 24th February at Patrickswell, Dillrock Mick which was due to meet Domain King in the third quarter and Manntan Manor which was due to meet Battleoftheboyne in the very last course. The first two reserves are Needham Frankel from the Brendan Matthews kennel and the pup Kyle Alex owned by Marie Field. Both of these subs ran very well in Tubbercurry back in January and are more than capable of making an impression over the coming weekend.
The pre-Irish Cup issue of the Sporting Press is on sale from today (Wednesday) and Tony O’Connor plumps for Octane Wonder to make it a second Classic for this season’s big Abbeyfeale winners. Corn Na Feile Puppy Stake winner Reikers Island divided the Derby with his litter brother and now the form of the Corn Na Feile All Age will be put to the test. Octane Wonder of course was the winner and by a remarkable coincidence he now meets the dog he defeated in that Abbeyfeale final, Kyle Mozart, in the first round of the Irish Cup. Other dogs tipped on this week’s Sporting Press include Skellig Shane, Hold Firm, Domain King, Balleen Voyager, Serene Angel, Alcar, Foot Solution, Drive On Smokey, Portane Ash, Tellmemorelies, Wallace Banner, Kingsmill Jasper and the pups Wiseguy Mark, Stonepark Mick, Needham Eoin, Oldfriendsrbest, Carmac Chaos and Ballinveala Yolo. Will the winner come from one of those twenty ?. We will find out very soon.
Last season’s Irish Cup winner Foot Solution is 14/1 to make it back to back victories when the 2017 renewal takes place at Patrickswell this coming weekend. Drive On Smokey which ran-up to Foot Solution twelve months ago is 16/1 to go one better. Bookmakers have made Octane Wonder their 7/1 favourite followed by Skellig Shane at 9s and Wallace Banner at 10s. There are about six runners priced at 12/1 including Portane Ash for which there has been plenty of support in the last 48 hours. Another runner attracting support is Manntan Manor and his odds have now shortened from 25s to 20s.
Arguably the finest field ever has been assembled for the Patsy Byrne Select Bitch Stake and it will take some winning. Recent Grace & Matt Bruton Champion Bitch Stakes winner Killucan Rose is one of four co-favourites priced at 5/1. The others are Skellig Jewel (runner-up to Killucan Rose in Clonmel), Newinn Rose and the bitch pup Bexhill Anna which was also well supported to win the Oaks a few weeks ago but lost to Dicks Bimbo in the third round.
Thanks to Tomas McLoughlin, Eoin Flynn & Kieran Houlihan for putting together this hour long mini-documentary which looks at some of the stories behind past Irish Cup successes and shares a few expert views on what is likely to win the 2017 renewal which takes place next weekend, Feb 24-26.