From: news

Day 1 at Irish Cup

The first day of the 2024 Co Limerick CC meeting featuring the Una O’Sullivan Memorial Irish Cup saw one previous winner nicely through to the second round and another heading home. There were wins also for last season’s Oaks, Irish Purse & Irish Plate winners and it certainly looks at this early stage as though the older brigade may have the edge in this year’s renewal.

Making his first public appearance since November 2022, Berlin Station showed all the signs that he retains the class which saw him win the Irish Cup as a pup in Feb 2022. Rumours that reigning champ Cool Spirit had a setback in training prior to the event meant his just-up defeat at the paws of the unfancied pup Ashmore Range was not as big a shock as it might have been.

The honour of fastest clock of the day goes to Boylesports Team which reached the quarter-final of both the Derby and Irish Cup last season but surprisingly picked up no silverware in his second season (yet). Just one spot behind him was the 2023 Oaks winner Ballymac Zena. Both should have a big say in their respective quarters as should their former kennelmate Ballymac General, now with Con Guiney, in the third quarter. He is of course an Irish Cup semi-finalist himself from 12 months ago.

The first quarter could come down to a buckle between the Irish Plate & Purse winners from last season (Montpelier Hulk & Drive On Lesley). Others to catch the eye today were the litter brothers Mr President & Mr Chairman and Vlad The Lad. There was also a remarkable run from the bitch Happenstance which came in as a reserve in the very first course and ousted one of the better fancied pups.

Of the 30 pups which ran in Rd1 only 13 remain and you can make that 12 as Donaghmore Jack will unfortunately be a non-runner tomorrow in the second quarter. As to whether any of the younger brigade will still be involved in the business end of things on Sunday is difficult to say but much will depend on how any of the runners handle the soft ground conditions over the next few rounds.

The Patsy Byrne Select Bitch Stakes looks like a very competitive affair with some good runs today from pups which ran well in the Oaks earlier this month but also from All Aged bitches such as Donaghmore Leia, Windfarm Madam, Doomore Diva and Central Dolly. The betting on this stake before coursing tomorrow should be very interesting.