National Coursing Meeting 2023 – Important Notices
Finals Day at Clonmel
The Fields Of Athenry rang around Powerstown Park this afternoon as friends and supporters of Tom Griffin, his daughter Jenny & her husband Matt Harte from Gort and trainer Gerry Holian celebrated the Boylesports Derby success of Masonbrook Ger. The son of Newinn Wonder & Laurina (representing Loughrea CC) had impressed from the opening round and was a truly worthy winner. His toughest call came in the semi-final against Tree Top Tyson which was one of many exciting courses today. Credit also to the runner-up Ballymac Major who came from behind in the quarter-final & semi-final but just couldn’t bridge the gap in the final.
They may have lost the Derby but it was another memorable National Meeting for Liam Dowling & family. As expected ante post favourite Ballymac Zena and her kennelmate Ballymac Pippin reached the final of the Horse & Jockey Hotel Oaks but not without a few worries. In her first course this morning Zena clipped the escape hard as she drove in and then three courses later Pippin got plenty of work. Zena’s semi-final against Catunda Lauren was without doubt the most exciting course of the entire three days and the stands erupted as the lead changed a number of times. However marking her out as an outstanding greyhound she shouldered her opponent at a vital time to take the opening turn. Pippin did recover from her exertions to win her semi-final against Silent Angel but following veterinary advice she was then withdrawn and Zena (representing Castleisland CC) was declared the winner. The daughter of Boylesports Magic – Silent Wonder joins Ballymac Enya (2019) and Ballymac Floral (2021) on the Oaks Roll of Honour.
The O’Connor family from Tarbert were back on the podium at a National Meeting when Express Razor (a Cup winner at Ballyduff and East Donegal) won the Kevin Smith Champion Stakes, coming from behind a gallant Aghadown Wonder in the final. The son of Drive On Smokey – Following Lights is trained by Patrick for his mam Christina. Excelerate (a Cup winner at Johnstown & Urlingford) gave one of the performances of the day throughout the Grace & Matt Bruton Champion Bitch Stakes. A late withdrawal before last season’s Oaks got underway, the daughter of Needham Danger – Annual Time made up for lost time much to the delight of Fintan & John Comerford, Kildare Town and trainer Kevin Barry. (Incidentally Fintan also drew Ballymac Zena in the Classics Club Draw so a great day all around for him). Ocean Kerrie ran exceptionally well to reach the final and gave the winner the most to do.
When Amarite was drawn to meet Ballymac Zena in the first round of the Oaks her owners Ray Conroy and Ollie Dunne (Portlaoise) were despondent. However she lost nothing in defeat and it was no surprise to see this litter sister of our Derby winner (Newinn Wonder – Laurina) win the Dublin Coach Kitty Butler Stakes four years after her dam won the same event. Sore Loser (Drive On Smokey – Sullane Erin) was also handed a tough opening draw in the Derby against Tiktok Tony and was one of the big outsiders. Owners David Manning & Katie Kelleher will be over the moon heading back to Macroom this evening with the trophy for the Stockproof Fencing Products TA Morris Stakes.
And so concluded the 97th National Coursing Meeting which was blessed with probably the best weather ever for the full duration of the event. We were also blessed with some fantastic coursing and behalf of all coursing supporters we extend our sincere thanks and gratitude to Team Powerstown. After all the anticipation it is hard to believe that it is all over but wonderful memories were made and no doubt the celebrations in Gort, Tralee, Tarbert, Kildare Town, Portlaoise and Macroom will continue for many days and weeks to come. Long Live Coursing.
Day 2 at Clonmel
Liam Dowling’s eight qualifiers graced the front page of last week’s Sporting Press and remarkably six of them are still in Derby & Oaks contention after three rounds and two days of great coursing at the 97th National Coursing Meeting. The betting this evening would suggest that Ballymac Zena and Ballymac Pippin will divide the Horse & Jockey Hotel Oaks which would give the Dowlings a remarkable third success in this Classic in five years. A Derby success would be the first up the field for the Ballymac kennels but it will be harder to achieve despite having half of the remaining runners.
The Boherlode Syndicate (Limerick) owned Boherlode Zoey which only came in as a runner-up last week has run brilliantly to reach the last eight of the Oaks. The Curtin family, Tournafulla, Limerick have brought many a fast qualifier to Clonmel over the years but perhaps without the success they deserved. With Barrack Bubbles (Oaks) and Barrack Boru (Derby) they now have two live chances, the latter in particular. Some of the loudest cheers were heard today from the Kilmardinny Syndicate (Imelda Byrne & family, Dublin) when Catunda Lauren won her two courses impressively. Gooleen Magic & Silent Angel make it three from the Boylesportsmagic – Silent Wonder litter into the last eight of the Oaks joining their sister Ballymac Zena. Gooleen Magic is owned by Eilish O’Sullivan & her son Dermot, from Labasheeda, Co Clare, mam and brother to Irish Cup and Kitty Butler sponsor John O’Sullivan. Father & son Tom & Jack Nolan, Abbeyfeale of the Silent prefix need no introduction and will be thrilled to see the great Silent Wonder produce such a litter. Twelve months after losing an Oaks final by the narrowest of margins Tom Lawler & his family, Carlow are back in an Oaks on Finals Day. Their Mungos Blossom has won many admirers and won’t make things easy for Ballymac Pippin.
The third round of the Boylesports Derby was bookended by two courses which were expected to be very close. The manner of the victory of both Ballymac Major and Tree Top Tyson (David Lonergan, Cahir & Kevin Barry, Rosegreen) over Iron Born and Cool Spirit respectively makes them serious contenders but such is the quality of this season’s Derby that they might not even reach the final. Major was actually nine spots slower than his brother Ballymac General who he now takes on in the quarter-final. The honour of fastest clock in the third round went to the aforementioned Barrack Boru and he meets Simply Glorious running for Ray Conroy & Ollie Dunne, Portlaoise who won a Kitty Butler with his dam in 2019 and also the Champion Bitch Stakes last season (Shes Invincible). Jenny Griffin and Matt Harte (Gort) got a brilliant run in the older Oaks 12 months ago and now their Masonbrook Ger (litter brother to Simply Glorious) is the fancy of many to go one better in the Derby. His next opponent is possibly the least fancied of the Liam Dowling runners but Ballymac Devito appears to have plenty luck on his side and we all know how important that is in coursing. He also happens to be a son of Ballymac Enya which gave Liam his first Clonmel success. Finally we come to Boylesports Team, the Corn Na Feile winner and running in the name of one of our sports most generous ever sponsors, John Boyle (Rostrevor) and trained in the Ballymac kennels. It would be another wonderful story but it won’t be easy, especially taking on Tree Top Tyson.
We began by mentioning the eight ‘Ballymac’ stars on Page 1 of the most recent Sporting Press. Will we see two or three or even possibly four of them on this week’s front cover once again ?. The bookmakers think we will and no doubt they will have some hefty doubles to pay out if it comes to pass. However the Clonmel dream is still alive for many other coursing families tonight and we wish them all the very best as we look forward to the third and final day of Clonmel 2023.
Day 1 at Clonmel
After a 30 minute delay due to overnight frost, Ballymac Wonder got the 97th National Meeting off to a great start with a 12.50 run in the opening course of the Horse & Jockey Hotel Oaks. However it wasn’t long before her kennelmate and long odds favourite Ballymac Zena bettered it by 12 spots (12.38). This would remain the best time of the day until Tree Top Tyson stopped the clock at 12.36 in the very last course of the Boylesports Derby.
Others to catch the eye in the Oaks were Gooleen Magic & Silent Angel (both litter sisters of Zena), Frenchfort (litter sister of Ballymac Wonder), Marvelous Model (daughter of 2020 Oaks winner), and the very well drawn Ballymac Pippin (same dam as 2019 and 2021 Oaks winners). The only big upset was the elimination of All Glamour which went temporarily offline and handed the advantage to Cloncunny Flare.
The Ballymacs were also very much to the fore in the Boylesports Derby with Ballymac Ida the only one of eight runners from the Dowling kennels to taste defeat today after a sluggish start. Ballymac Major was probably the most impressive although sponsor John Boyle will have been delighted with the all the way success of Boylesports Team (trained by Liam Dowling). The aforementioned Tree Top Tyson finished the first round in style and others to show Derby winning potential were Iron Born, Masonbrook Ger, Cool Spirit and both of the Barrack dogs Boru & Ice. However no less than 15 dogs came in under 12.60 so it really is wide open still.
It was a glorious day weather wise and the atmosphere and excitement was the best seen at an opening day in Clonmel for a long time. Please God it augurs well for the next two days. The action resumes tomorrow morning at 11am with the first round of the Stockproof Fencing TA Morris Stakes. (see Quick Results for clocks and betting).
The Waiting Is Over
In less than 24 hours the 97th National Coursing Meeting will get underway at Powerstown Park, Clonmel. It is very doubtful if we will have anyone attending who was present at that first National Meeting back in 1925 but for sure there will be someone proudly celebrating their 50th, 60th or even 70th Clonmel. We all remember our first Clonmel and we hope that for those making their maiden trip this year it is the first of many.
Safe travelling to all over the next three days. Best wishes to everyone connected to a runner and we hope your dream comes true. A huge thank you to all involved with hare husbandry at Powerstown Park and we hope your dream of a clean sheet comes true also. We know you can do no more. Sincere thanks to our sponsors, Boylesports, The Horse & Jockey Hotel, Dublin Coach, Stockproof Fencing Products, The 802 Classics Club Members and the families of the late Kevin Smith and Grace & Matt Bruton. This event could not happen without your support.
At 11am this Sunday morning Breska Code and Ballymac Wonder will be placed in the capable hands of Brian Doyle or Richard Quinn. 202 courses later Liam Kelly or John O’Connell will pull the final flag for this season’s National Meeting and the Clonmel Roll Of Honour will have six new names or possibly even more in the event of a divide !!. It’s our All Ireland, Superbowl, Cheltenham, all rolled into one and whether it’s our 50th or our 1st the excitement never diminishes.
OFFICIAL NON RUNNERS
|National Meeting 2023 – Non Runners|
|Horse & Jockey Hotel Oaks|
|Hiho Lets Go (First Quarter)|
|Lucarelli (First Quarter)|
|Ta Ellen (Fourth Quarter)|
|Tullig Seal (First Quarter)|
|Sminky Sharp (Reserve)|
|Grace & Matt Bruton Champion Bitch|
|Kevin Smith Champion Stakes|
|Rossmore Champ (reserve)|
For anyone travelling to Clonmel from the Waterford or Wexford direction on Tuesday (Sunday & Monday should be ok) please note there are long delays in Carrick On Suir due to roadworks. The full details are below.
ROAD TO BE CLOSED:
N24 Eastbound Lane, Carrick-on-Suir, Co Tipperary. From O’Mahony Avenue to Ash Park Junction with N24. PERIOD OF CLOSURE: 00:00hrs on Monday 30 January 2023 to 23:39hrs on Friday 01 September 2023. ALTERNATIVE ROUTES: R696 New Road, L-2701-1 Ard Mhuire, L-2702-1 Greenside North, R697 Park View, L-2703-1 Ash Park. (L-27032-1 Townparks will also to be used when required).
NM SPORTING PRESS SPECIAL
Congratulations to Anne Marie O’Brien and her team on another great National Meeting special. A must read before you head to Clonmel this weekend. Available to view online Tuesday evening and should be in most shops on Wednesday.
Consolation Stakes at National Meeting
At the 2023 National Coursing Meeting there will be two Consolation Stakes. The Dublin Coach Kitty Butler Stakes for 32 bitches eliminated in the first round of the Horse & Jockey Hotel Oaks. Winner: €7,000. Runner Up: €2,000. The Stockproof Fencing Products T. A. Morris Stakes for 32 dogs eliminated in the first round of the BoylesSports Derby. Winner: €7,000. Runner Up: €2,000.
In the event of these stakes not being filled by those eliminated from the first round of the Oaks/Derby the remaining places will be allocated to reserves in the Oaks/Derby which did not get called to run in those stakes. These reserves must have run a non-competitive course at the end of the first round of the Oaks/Derby.
A new draw will be made to determine which reserves are to receive the remaining places in the Consolation Stakes and which reserves are to be listed as Reserves A,B,C and D for the Consolation Stakes. The draw for the Consolation Stakes will then take place.
The first round of the Dublin Coach Kitty Butler Stakes will take place at the end of coursing on the first day of the National Meeting and the second round will take place immediately after the interval on the second day of the National Meeting. The first round of the Stockproof Fencing Products TA Morris Stakes will take place at the start of coursing on the second day of the National Meeting and the second round will take place at the end of coursing on the second day of the National Meeting. Both stakes will then be completed on the third day of the National Meeting.
NATIONAL MEETING TRIALS
The second hare schooling session for the National Meeting took place on Saturday and the quickest clocks were 12.67 and 12.72. The first hare schooling session for the National Meeting took place on Friday and the quickest clocks were 12.62 and 12.64
THE DUBLIN COACH COURSING BUS
We are delighted that John O’Sullivan is once again providing this wonderful service on three different routes. The coaches will leave each morning from Galway, Dundalk and Tralee with strategic pick-ups along the way. All who travelled this way in recent years have had nothing but the highest of praise for the service so early booking is advisable.