One of the highlights of the 2018/19 coursing season was the performance of Silent Wonder in the Corn Na Feile All Age after Christmas. Often the All Age event at Abbeyfeale can be overshadowed by the two Corn Na Feile puppy events but on this occasion it has to be said that the Silent bitch almost stole the thunder of Picture House & Newinn Fifi. Indeed her presence over the two days was in no small way responsible for a record attendance. Unfortunately she suffered a toe injury which kept her out of the Champion Bitch Stake but Clonmel’s loss is Co Limerick’s gain and no one will be leaving the racecourse on Friday before she goes upfield in the first round of the Patsy Byrne Select Bitch Stake. In her opening course she meets the Brendan Matthews trained pup Foxhollow Darkie which gave Newinn Fifi a scare in the second round of the Oaks and then next up could be the very early paced pup Catch Kazuri. However should everything be ok with Silent Wonder she will progress to the latter stages with ease and is priced a very short 1/1 with the bookmakers.
Second favourite at 5/1 is the treble Cup winner Share The Dream. This lady arrived in Clonmel under a cloud and connections were thrilled with the way she performed, keeping the outstanding winner Blades Of Honour to a length in their semi-final. The word is that she has come out of Clonmel very well and is ready to do battle this weekend. A danger lurking in this fourth quarter is Cobra Angel (10/1). These two ladies had a thrilling buckle in Johnstown & Urlingford with Share The Dream only getting up late to win by half a length.
One that catches the eye in the first quarter is the 8/1 shot Central Maid. Not only do the Centrals have a very good record in this event but this lady ran exceptionally well here 12 months ago, bowing out to eventual winner Mad Decision, in the semi-final. In her three outings this season she has performed with distinction. Kingdom Cup winner Ballymac Meena is the obvious danger although her RD1 opponent Deja Vu is a lot better than what we saw in the Oaks earlier in the month.
That leaves us with the third quarter and similar to the third quarter in the Irish Cup it is wide open. Ballymac Ismay which was withdrawn from the second round of the Oaks is the shortest priced in this quarter at 8/1 followed at 10/1 by Karasova & Elegant Wonder which made early exits in the Oaks at the paws of Sminky Star and Newinn Fifi respectively. Karasova was subsequently withdrawn from the Kitty Butler Stakes and Elegant Wonder bowed out narrowly to the eventual winner Laurina. So whilst these pups still have to prove that they are up to this level they do appear marginally stronger than the others in the quarter and Elegant Wonder might be the one to come through.
Central Maid, Silent Wonder, Elegant Wonder & Share The Dream are our selections for the Select and no doubt the final that all neutrals are hoping for is Silent Wonder v Share The Dream. The Irish Cup may have to play second fiddle to the ladies if that final pairing comes off.