The large crowd present for Day 2 of the National Coursing Meeting at Powerstown Park, Clonmel today were treated to top class action from hares and greyhounds alike. Well done also to both slippers who ensured it is very much a level playing field for all quarter-finalists as they head into Finals Day.
Betting for the Boylesports Derby and Horse & Jockey Hotel Oaks is still dominated by the two big Ballymac hopes, Ballymac Sports and Ballymaccallaway. Both showed a little vulnerability in their courses this morning and went out in price at the interval to 2/1. However, it may have only been a case of giving some false hope to their rivals because their third round performances were top drawer and they have now hardened to 4/6 and 1/1 respectively.
As was always going to happen on the second day, a number of serious challengers have emerged from the pack in the two Classics but it is going to take something special to topple the favourites. The O’Connor family and the Flynn family, both from Tarbert, are certainly going to give it a go. Patrick O’Connor has Macha Razor for his mam Christina in the Oaks and is doubly represented with Light Brown (owner James Cunningham won’t sleep tonight) and the Noble Gang Syndicate owned ‘A Noble Friend’ in the Derby. The Flynns are doubly represented in the Oaks with Marvelous Mover & Up Tempo and of course are no strangers to Oaks success.
The last eight in the Oaks are completed by Atlantic Sunset which John Kiely trains for Eamonn Kiely & Paddy Marrinan, the Martin Spillane owned & trained Lockbo Sophie, Lasting Beauty running for Paul Horig, Catherine Darcy & trainer Kevin Barry and flying the flag for Connacht & the Divilly family, Crafty Magello. Incidentally a trawl through the ICC registrations systems shows that Lockbo stands alone as the only greyhound from the Lochbo kennels that was ever spelt with a ‘K’. Might it be all for luck ?.
Joining Ballymac Sports tomorrow in Powerstown for the Derby will be his kennelmate Ballymac Kyleson. We already mentioned Patrick O’Connor’s two runners and also making the journey from the Kingdom will be Collette O’Regan with her own dog Lineroad Santos and trainer John Kelliher with the Darragh Sheehan & Stephen Reidy owned Tonevane Togo. Stephen has been pictured in many a photo with a Ballymac winner but no doubt he would take great pride in having his own classic winner. 27 years ago Bob Shanahan was a member of the Syndicate which had the joint Derby favourite on the third morning (Team Chorus) and is back with the Pat Guilfoyle trained Music Blaring, this time taking on the Derby fav. And finally but certainly not least, the Derby winning combination of Basil & Bernie Holian (2019) & trainer Kevin Marmion (2021) will be hoping to repeat the feat, this time together, with Moonlight Mayhem.
Of course patrons on Day 3 can also look forward to seeing last season’s Derby, Oaks & Irish Cup winners in action in the two Champion Stakes which is surely a first for the National Meeting. Coursing will commence at 11am with the quarter-finals of the Dublin Coach Kitty Butler Stakes and the Stockproof Fencing Products T.A Morris Stakes. Brendan Mathews, Pat Guilfoyle & Matt Harte are strongly represented in these two Consolation events but both look wide open.
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