2015 Coursing Derby/Oaks Interviews


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Derby Dan achieves his dream of dreams

The 2015 National Coursing Meeting and the Derby victory of Feel My Pulse will be remembered as the interrupted Clonmel festival but for Dan Brassil and all associated with the kennels, there is many more reasons to record this classic win as a milestone of major significance for one of the most highly regarded trainers that coursing has ever known.

The celebrations in the aftermath of last Sunday’s win meant more to Dan than just the Derby win itself as it completes the set of the most prestigious prizes in the sport. Having won Irish Cups through Im Only Saying at Clounanna and Ashmore View at Limerick, the Oaks with Lincolns Rose, the affable Kerry man has now achieved what he calls “the triple crown”. Remaining humble throughout it was clear that this achievement means a lot to Dan and his pride was clearly evident in explaining, “Winning the Derby is just a brilliant feeling, it’s the dream of dreams. I’ve been very lucky and to have won all three big ones, well I have to admit, it’s a very nice feeling. I don’t think there’s many that have done it before me, maybe 3 or 4 but that’s immaterial really. It’s some achievement and to do it with your own dogs makes it very special”.

Extremely gracious to all who have been involved with these victories Dan has many to thank for their help throughout the years and also this season with Feel My Pulse who he believed would be a Derby contender from the very start of the season. Making no excuses for early season defeats he describes his campaign saying, “he started out in Milltown Malbay and sure he came up against a very good dog in the first round, we had no complaints. I was confident then going to Nenagh but we ran into a right good one again in the first round and got beat. I wasn’t a bit disappointed though, I still had every confidence in him. The draw came out then for Knockgraffon, I thought he’d be in but he was a reserve, thankfully the club rang me early and said there was withdrawals and sure the rest is history!

“To be honest, i`d have preferred if there was no delay at Clonmel for him because he was in great form all the way through. I keep my dogs with James and Thomas Kennedy for Clonmel and they couldn’t be in a better place but the lads were gone to Powerstown and they got word back to me early that it was off, so I set course for home. It’s a unique situation to have a week at that stage but I got himself and Game Mikey checked over and got the all clear. I have a jacuzzi here the past two years so they were in that on Tuesday. They got a very handy run about on Thursday and another jacuzzi that evening, it was just a matter of trying to have them fresh and honestly, Feel My Pulse was bouncing on Sunday. I have to mention Jo Jo Daly at this point, he has been with me since 1991 and we won the Oaks in our very first year together. He was brilliant all last week, like he has been from day one. Between himself, Paddy Flaherty and my wife Nuala, Sunday went like clockwork, I have to thank them all”.

I was delighted with the dog himself on Sunday, he held his form great. He has some early pace for a big dog and he really showed it when the pressure was on, especially in the semi-final. It was hard to believe how fresh he was going to slips for the final, he really was ready to go again and he is as good as you could hope for since, in great form. I’d swear I could nearly run him in the Irish Cup he’s that fresh after it but he’s off to Dunphy’s now for a month or so and we’ll see if he can prove popular at stud. He’s a Derby winner off a top class sire so hopefully he might be a direct replacement for him given his damlines and that he is a good outcross for most bitches. We’ll see how things go before there is any decision about next year”.

Should Feel My Pulse emerge to contest an All Age campaign next season there are many ominous pointers to suggest he can present even better than he was in Derby victory for inspection of Madtogoagain’s progeny shows an upward spiral throughout their careers. She threw a Trial Stake winner in Wiseguy Paddy from her first litter to Murtys Blaze. He failed to contest the Derby last season but two of that litter who came up short in Trial Stakes showed impressive progression in their second season. Most notable is Avenue Ranger who won Cups at Rathkeale and Dungarvan before exiting the Champion Stakes to eventual winner Blueview Charlie. The litter also contained Lynmarie who scored an All Age Bitch Stake win at Rathkeale. Avenue Ranger, also in Dan’s care will now go to the Irish Cup along with Game Mikey for his special friends Brian and Tom O’Donoghue of the Speakeasy Bar in Killarney.

Brian and Tom along with Dan make up the winning ownership, the B-T-S Syndicate and Dan describes them as brilliant sports people and “life long friends”. They however had little say in the naming of the Derby winner which was all down to Dan, with some help from 2014 winning Oaks trainer John Flynn. “Long story short, I had no runner last year and I was watching the coursing down at the rails with John and a few more. He was flying it with Somelittlething and when he had all his work done before the final he came running up to watch it from the same place on the rail. I grabbed his hand to give him a lift up on the box and asked, how are you feeling now? He replied, feel my pulse! That’s it says I, you’re not to take that name, I’m using it. It was a great day for him when she got up and won the final but I had a great day too. My daughter gave birth to my first grand-daughter, my second grand-child that same day, Caoimhe. So I’ve had two great Clonmel’s in a row”!

Expressing thanks to many throughout the conversation, Dan heaps praise on breeder Paddy Flaherty. “We have been friends for 25 years. We won the Irish Cup together in 1991 with Im Only Saying and there has always been dogs swapping between us ever since. There is none better to rear pups, the dogs would nearly talk to you coming away from Paddy but I picked Feel My Pulse up at 16 weeks and reared him here. I’m delighted to be the one to bring him a Derby winner”!

He favours none in his thanks but Dan is especially proud to have his appreciation for the late John O’Connor of Abbeyfeale recorded on the front page of last week’s Sporting Press. “John was my wingman for 35 years. He was much more than a vet to me, he was a true friend. We played golf, we had our arguments, we got over them. I could ring him at any hour of the night. You could only get one brief opportunity to pay tribute to him in that way and I consider it a privilege that I got the chance to do that for John, it came from my heart”!


Breeding paddocks Calling for Oaks heroine...

 ...Goodnight Vienna!

Having spoken with John Troy following Vienna Calling’s victory at Thurles when claiming her Greyhound & Pet World Oaks ticket, it was with boyish anticipation that I look forward to speaking with him again following what must be described as one of the most impressive classic victories of recent times. Excited then, to qualify for Clonmel, John’s emotions now encapsulate all the fulfilment and unbridled glee that comes with realising a life long dream.

“There is nothing in life like this” he exclaims. “The amount of times I’ve had to check myself since she won……we actually won the Oaks! It happened me again today. I wasn’t up the top of the field at all really but after the final, you know, you go running up the field like a mad man. Hugging and kissing and crying, it was just unreal. We organised a big dinner for about a hundred of us on Saturday. Friends from back in Offaly, family, club members in Kilflynn and Ballinagar, we were just so thrilled we had get people together. It was a great night but we said a few words and all got emotional. I just said it was an unbelievable feeling and I hope ye all get to experience it. We’d be well known in the game but we’re at it an awful long time and there’s plenty more like us who never get to experience this. We all know the work that goes into it and to reach to the peak of this sport is a real privilege”!

Vienna Calling is owned by John, with his brother Alan from the Curragh and Michael Murphy of Sallins who takes the bulk of the training plaudits for this Oaks campaign. At the time of her Thurles Trial Stake victory she was not long out of her season and all were delighted that she proved good enough to win with little preparation on that occasion. They confidently expected her to improve significantly from that outing and John expressly noted, even at that early stage, Clonmel would be right up her street!

John and Alan sponsor the Troy Electrical Puppy Stake at Old Kilcullen and this was her natural target in the lead up to Powerstown. “She was always going to run in the puppy stake for obvious reasons but she was far from laid out for it. For one, our field would not be long enough to really suit her and it would be way too early to have her peaking at that time. She ran plenty well enough there, getting beat by a dog in the semi-final and we were happy enough. We only got rightly stuck into her in the lead up to Christmas. She wouldn’t have won the Oaks on Christmas Day but the work that was going into her at that time was bringing her on every day. We could see it coming and coming. It was getting harder to pass Boylesports every day with quotes like 50/1 but we held back until the draw was made. She was getting lots of galloping and lots of swimming and we knew from comparison with some of our best track dogs that she was getting faster all the while, she was super fit. She has natural stamina but now she was developing early pace too.”

“We were sick over the delay in the first place because we were convinced of her staying power, I’m not joking her tongue never comes out of her mouth. I’d say if you cut her open she has a massive heart or something. But then some lads were saying she was worst off on the handicap. So I don’t know really whether it helped us or not but it was a tough week. You’d be worried she’d pick up something like a cough or that and then sure we were never that far before so it was a tough week. She was great in herself though, absolutely hopping but what we hadn’t told anyone was that she was a bit sore. We were working away on it and it never came against her thank god but we stopped for a bite to eat on the way home after it all and got her out, she was lame. It wasn’t too serious and she got her treatment for it, if we wanted to run her next season, it wouldn’t be a concern.”

Vienna Calling however will not run again as John explains “she was bought for breeding and that’s her future. I’m a huge fan of the Call Up dam-line and the intention was always to use her to start our own line, so to speak. Sure we were below before the final with Mick rubbing one end of her, me at the other and he pipes up and says, win our lose now John this is her last course, she’s retired after this! She broke down the other day and we haven’t made a decision on a sire just yet”.

Students of breeding and always planning for the future, connections made what turned out to be an almost prophetic purchase one week in advance of the festival when choosing a bitch pup by Wallace Green out of Leigh Smokey. “We were letting no one near the kennels for about a fortnight before Clonmel so there was no way I going to any other kennels either. That’s just the way it was, we had only the same few people near our bitch in the lead up, no one else. So Pat Sutton went down to collect the pup in Pat O’Connor’s and she’s in Ned Spain’s now but little did we know that the next time any us would see Pat O’Connor, would be in the Oaks final. We won the final well in the end but it was real scare when she ran off the path and my heart jumped before she got back on the hare. The first time I ever met Pat then was at the top of the field afterwards and what a gentleman he is. He was so gracious in defeat and you couldn’t believe it, he said to me about our girl going unsighted, I didn’t want your bitch to lose that way, pure class!

This victory is the first classic success for connections Michael Murphy did claim the bitch event at the 2005 Irish Cup meeting with Megan Be Nice. In yet another coincidence John explains “The first time I met Michael was during my time with Ned Spain in Kilcormack. Ridgemount Maudie was the first bitch I owned myself to win a Trial Stake and she beat Megan Be Nice in the final. Little did we know then that we would be winning an Oaks together ten years later”!


Abella leaves rivals feeling Blue in Kitty Butler

Bringing more glory to Old Kilcullen at the National Meeting in 2015 was Jimmy Kelly’s Blue Abella when she scored a highly impressive victory in the Horse and Jockey Kitty Butler Stake, adding to the Oaks win of Vienna Calling for the Kildare Club but this victory will have been celebrated just as much in the proud Tipperary man’s homeland of Templetuohy.

A family steeped in coursing tradition, many of the Kelly’s can be labelled working members in both clubs as Jimmy explains “I’d still try to get back home to catch hares when I get the chance. Sure you’d have to be very proud of the club with all the efforts they’ve made in the new field. They are a great club and my brothers, along with the likes of Marty Ryan would come up to help us every year too. They could arrive for Sunday’s and even on Tuesday’s if they are free.” This association is in evidence throughout the photo parade following the National Meeting with members of both clubs present for the celebrations.

Jimmy is also brother to esteemed judge Liam Kelly and proud dad to slipper Alan who he also credits with much of the help in training Blue Abella along with his wife Bridie. “Ah it’s a real family effort alright and you’d want every bit of it too. We’ve had 4 or 5 Trial Stake winners at this stage but we had a bad run for the past few years so we were due a turn of luck with this one. We are delighted with her but she has been a pleasure to handle. She’s a placid bitch, she takes everything in her stride. She kept her condition the whole season and her weight hardly budged the whole time”.

“I bought her from Harry Ruddy after Clonmel last year. She was advertised in the Sporting Press and I had seen her half sister win the All Age Bitch Stake at Templetuohy, Garrys Secret. I was impressed with her and that was enough for me. I thought the field in New Ross would suit her and she ran it great. It’s a fine field down there and she appreciated every yard of it, she was hardly blowing after the final. It’s a long way then to keep her ticking over to Clonmel so I ran her in the All Age at Rathdowney, another testing field. I was happy with her there and the form was decent when you’re only beaten three parts of a length to Lochbo Vicky. She had a trial in Powerstown then on the Friday of the trial session so she actually up there seven times and sure, she loved it. I always said she would only be getting into her gallop after 150 yards there and she proved me right thank god”.

Blue Abella went out of the Oaks at the hands of Jeffys Twinkle when only going down by the bare minimum but was a dominant winner of her opening three courses in the Kitty Butler Stake before stiff tests against Flashy Paradise in the semi-final and Moonveen Magda in the final. “It’s hard enough to get to Clonmel in the first place” exclaims Jimmy. “To come away with a prize at the end of it all is just brilliant but to do it the way she did against two great kennels in the last two courses, that’s special. The Heffernan’s and the Mackey’s have had some dogs in their time so it was never going to be easy. I wasn’t up the top of the field until the presentation and I haven’t seen the courses yet but I’m told they were brilliant buckles. She was in great form after the whole week and still is now but we only just got away with her season, she has broke down since”!

“I’m taking the chance to breed her now. We’ll have late April pups and sure if I passed it up, she could break at the wrong time when I did decide to go. She’s booked in to Newinn Wonder. I might be taking a chance but his brother Thomas The Tank looks to be a right sire already and even though it’s going to be an unproven dog and a maiden bitch, that’s my choice. I only saw him at the Irish Cup last year but I fell in love with him, a superb hound. She has one prior engagement at Newbridge Greyhound Stadium this Friday. Martin Sweeney from the track supporters club got in touch with ourselves and the Troy’s. The lads are only five minutes over the road from me here so that’s a nice thing to be asked to parade both bitches at the track. She will probably head off for mating the following day”.

With no runner for the Irish Cup, Jimmy’s season is at an end but he did hint that Blue Abella might appear next season and also will hope to again contest Clonmel honours with some more choicely bred pups. “We would usually have 4 or 5 pups heading into a season but I had a litter here by Killimor Matey out of a grand-daughter to Call Biddy. I kept two of them and sold the rest but I’m also waiting on Harry Ruddy to arrive on with another pup out of Drumcrow Marina. It’s easy say it now but I really like her as a dam, I think she’ll throw good in every litter so there is a half sister to Blue Abella on the way by Kingsmill Dynamo”.

Newcastlewest & Ballyduff Derby Trial Stakes:

Back the white one of Bowles & Blair Derby pair

For the vast majority of hopeful owners who begin the coursing season with the dream of a Derby runner, any place in the classic is a coveted prize. Whether as a runner-up, a reserve or a 100/1 outsider, just to see your pride and joy go to slips to contest the blue riband of coursing would constitute a highly successful season. So the position that Paddy Bowles and Joe Blair now find themselves in with both Portane All In and Timber House is an enviable one with these two highly impressive Trial Stake winners now priced at just 10/1 following the classic draw.
Speaking with Joe Blair he fully acknowledges the fortunate position he finds himself in, repeatedly using the word “luck” throughout the conversation. However, they did give themselves every opportunity of a Derby contender with their clever purchases as both contenders are exceptionally well bred. Portane All In is by Mafi Magic out of the prolific dam Newinn All In who, amongst others, has thrown Irish Cup winner Newinn Wonder and the Derby winning sire of Timer House, Thomas The Tank.
He won his ticket at Newcastlewest and immediately caused a stir in the Derby market with his smart clocks throughout the event. Giving little away Joe explains “He won two rounds at Castleisland on his first day out but he got a small injury there. Thankfully it wasn’t anything too serious and he was spot on for Newcastlewest. He ran well there alright I suppose”!
Timber House was victorious on his sole outing of the season at Ballyduff and was equally as impressive, joining his kennelmate near the top of the outright market in the immediate aftermath. He is by Thomas The Tank out of Lady Twinkletoes who is a daughter of the brilliant dam Eoin Bui. She has also qualified Jogon Jeanie and Jeffys Twinkle for the Oaks this season.
For punters attempting to assess the form of both runners it is difficult to decipher between the two. Comparison with the All Age Stake at both meetings puts them very close together as both clocked favourably with Needham Work who won both those Cup events. So in an effort to help those seeking a bet I asked Joe if he himself had ventured a wager. “No, I’ve had no investment, yet! I’ll see closer the time but either way I would have been waiting on the draw which looks fairly ok but we’ll still need a bit of luck”!
So having got no clue with that line of questioning I bit the bullet. “Which of them is the best Joe?” To which he replied “the white one”! No prizes for guessing, both are white!
Joe was keen to express his praise for Rachel Wheeler who looked after both dogs in their first year. “I got to know Paddy through the track dogs I had with Rachel so that’s how we got together for the coursing. Rachel reared them as pups after they were bought and then Paddy had them early last year before they went to Michael O’Donovan. They have all done a great job. They were the only two we had for the season so we have been very lucky”.
“I’ve heard nothing from Michael. I won’t be annoying him either, just leave him at it, that’s his end. The way I look at it, no word is good word. It would be nice to see him win the Derby though. He has a good few for it and seems to have a good chance this year, hopefully one of our pair can do it for him. He would definitely deserve it”!
On the naming of the dogs Joe explains “well Portane is all down to Paddy. He was called That Man Paddy to start with but Portane is his townland near Pallasgreen. The other fellow is down to my own business. I manufacture timber frame houses so that’s fairly self explanatory but the business will keep me away form Powerstown on Saturday. I’ll be in England and won’t be back until early Sunday morning, so I just hope they are both still standing. I won’t be able to relax on Saturday but hopefully I’ll be able to see it some way or other on Saturday night”.

Joe is a native of Co.Down but has been living in New Inn for the past twelve years and a cool character in conversation it was reassuring to hear him admit that he would be on edge while in England. When asked if the excitement had set in yet he replied with a laugh, “maybe next week! Ah, sure we’ll keep dreaming”.

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Nenagh Bitch Trial Stake: BALLYKILDEA ASH

Ballykildea is a cool first winner for lucky Liam

An extremely modest individual, Liam Walsh of Killaloe may be the coolest owner of any classic contender at this season’s festival and simply considers himself “one of the lucky ones” to have a runner in the Oaks with his Ballykildea Ash (Kyle James/Chubbys Banker) despite the brilliant achievement of guiding her to Trial Stake victory in Nenagh as the first coursing dog he has ever had.
“I’ve always been into the coursing and have been going to meetings for years, mostly with my dad Willie and Phil Healy but this was my first runner so I’m very lucky and I’m fully aware of that. You have to respect that there is people in the game all their lives and struggling to win a duffer stake. It’s not that I’m not delighted over it all, I am and it’s great to be there but I just kind of keep my feet on the ground and will take whatever comes at Clonmel. The auld lad is making up for me though, he’s on a right high, like a child. It’s great”!
Ballykildea Ash began her season at Regional where she made her exit from the second round with Liam explaining “She just went unsighted there and that was that but Nenagh went great. There was no big drama, we got lucky that she kept injury free and sure the rest is history now. She’s a very honest type, gutsy you could say. She might not have the legs for Powerstown but then again she might. We are all in the same boat that way, you won’t know until you’re in the thick of it! Winning in Nenagh was a bit special for us because the Cup for the Oaks is actually my Grand-Uncle’s trophy, Jimmy Bourke who was a working member of Nenagh Coursing Club for many years. His wife Carmel only passed away recently since the meeting too. To win your first stake with your first dog, for that cup….well you can imagine how proud we were”!
Trained by Liam for that Nenagh win, Ballykildea Ash has now joined the Pat Norris kennels since early December and all current connections report that they were happy with her trial at Powerstown on Saturday last. “Yeah she ran grand in the trial and Pat seemed happy enough. We knew she was going to be running at this stage once she came out of the trial safe and sound so we pulled into Boylesports in Thurles on the way home. She was 40/1 and after a quick chat we got a few quid together to back her, just for the sake of it really with her being our first runner and all. There is a good few of us in the family, so it ended up a nice enough bet, but nothing really big. We went another few miles on the road and stopped again in Nenagh. I tried to back her again at 40/1 with a very small bet but I was told she was only 20/1. So honestly, anyone who saw her shorten up and thought it was a significant gamble, it wasn’t” he laughs.
Completely unassuming, Liam has not looked past the opening round on Saturday and throughout the conversation never once referred to Sunday or Monday but does admit that the draw was far from ideal for Pat Norris with both of his Oaks charges facing off in the first round. “Honestly, I’d take whatever came but it is a bit unlucky for Pat. I just hope the winner will go on to run well for him”.
Asked if he thought he would beat the Galway & Oranmore qualifier Linden Village in that first buckle Liam replies “I haven’t a clue. I wouldn’t even dare ask Pat that one. He’s a quiet chap and that is none of my business the way I look at it. I`ll give him a call for a chat later in the week but all I’ll be doing is wishing him luck, whatever happens”!
Liam was anxious to express his thanks to dad Willie and also Phil Healy for their help in training the bitch. Phil will be known to the entire coursing community through his many years working with the legendary Tom Hayes of Tender fame and Liam is grateful to reap the benefits of his extensive knowledge in preparing Ballykildea Ash but admits that there was no secret formula applied when choosing her as a pup. “I saw the litter advertised in the Sporting Press, so myself Phil went along to Donie O’Donnell in Duagh. She had four white paws and was the first one to come out and greet us, so that was that. There was no real picking. Thank God we brought home the right one”!

Ballykildea Ash’s chances in the Oaks are not without merit as the Nenagh Trial Stake has produced four subsequent winners, all of whom were priced lower than she herself was before Liam’s “small bet”. So maybe the revised price reflects her chance more accurately and she may yet have the coolest owner in Powerstown, very excited!


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Gorey Derby Trial Stake: STEPHENS OWEN

Gorey winner Stephen has many Owners for Derby 2015

Entering the Derby following victory in Gorey’s Trial Stake of early December, Stephens Owen is assured of big support for the classic as Donal O’Suilieabhan of Clonmel explains that there is many more who can lay claim to ownership of the 25/1 shot than the Syndicate name, Sullivangroganmcnamarameehan suggests.
Himself a confirmed coursing fanatic Donal explains “the syndicate has been going for a good few years now. We’d have a runner every year and we seem to be adding new members every year too. It’s a fun thing really that started with my brother Pat and members of Clonmel & Kilsheelin but we’ve dragged a few from other clubs along the way and the only stipulation is that you must go coursing. Now that includes catching hares and going to meetings, everything really, you just must be a coursing man”!
Thrilled to have a qualifier again this year he exclaims, with laughter “ We are all delighted to be back at Clonmel with a runner but for one of our newest members, Mark Meehan, it his first Trial Stake winner. He would have been involved with family dogs all his life and never had one so the rest of us are getting a right kick out of his excitement. He’s far from a child in age but that’s what it’s like at the moment, the man can hardly sleep”!
That excitement is not without merit, nor are the chances of Stephens Owen in the Derby following his impressive win at Gorey which confirmed the talent shown on his first outing of the season at Cashel where he posted two very smart clocks before a quarter final withdrawal. “He was flying at Cashel alright but damaged a toe and had to be withdrawn. Now that was nothing to do with the field, the club had it in some order, it was just one of those things. He had five weeks off with that and we only had him back for a couple of gallops in the last week before Enniscorthy. He got beat in the quarter final there and not to make excuses but he really wasn’t ready. The long term plan after Cashel was to get him fit for Gorey and fair play to Donagh & Kevin McClean, he was”!
Trained by the McClean Family at Brunswick kennels in Clonmel, the Gorey meeting was a fitting place to qualify Stephens Owen as Donal explains “ I’ve been sponsoring the All Age Donal O’Suilieabhan Cup at Gorey for 11 or 12 years and the McClean family have now joined me in that, so it was great to win our ticket there. He got over the meeting very well and honestly, he’s in great order. He has had an uninterrupted training campaign and all going to plan between now and then he will arrive at Clonmel a stronger, fitter and better dog than he has been all year”.
Asked if the syndicate had invested at his current odds Donal replies “we’ll wait for the draw! It looks a hot Derby and I can think of a few I wouldn’t like to meet in the first round. Having said that, it’s such an unknown quantity going to Clonmel. The field is so unique, you couldn’t be adamant about how any dog will go in it. So like the rest, we’ll just take our chances but we are quite hopeful and whatever happens we`ll enjoy it”.
The list of syndicate members is extensive but among them is Michael McNamara who most in the sport will know either from his alias, Lettersonapostcard or as the man with the video at meetings across the country. A Listowel native he moved to Clonmel some years ago and had his first Trial Stake winner, Pearses Harbour with the McLean’s becoming another member of the syndicate in due course. “It was funny in the final at Gorey. I turned to Micheal after the turn in celebration but he was still commentating on the course. The dog was still out after sliding about forty yards on the ground. Fair play, he was professional and kept working away. He’s brilliant for what he’s doing for the game. He was away in America last season and sure it was killing him, it’s great to have him back.”
Along with Donal, I’m confident that all of the wider coursing community will join in thanking Michael for his exceptional and invaluable coverage of coursing this season and years past. We are in your debt Michael and hopefully we can enjoy your work for many years to come.
No strangers to the Derby, connections have twice reached quarter-final stage with Stephens Ray and Stephens Dawn in recent years. They have also tasted success with Stephens Day winning the Keen Laddie stake but having informed me where the syndicate will gather to watch the action at Powerstown Park Donal joked, “ it could be dangerous to come near us, you might end up in the syndicate for next year”.

For the record, members not mentioned above are Brendan Grogan, Roddy Keane, Eoin Doyle, Eugene Doyle, Brian Finn, John Swack Behan and Michael Harris. However Donal has one more quip before signing off, “If it comes to dishing out prize money after he wins the Derby, half those names might not be in the dog at all”!

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Galbally Oaks Trial Stake: Hi Five Yankee

Hi Fives all round for Yankee in Galbally Oaks

A member of a prolific winning litter by Kyle James out of Cumbawn Ellen the Eight-Til-Late-Syndicate’s Hi Five Yankee was responsible for two of the litter’s seven stake wins this season when producing a most accomplished performance in claiming her full Trial Stake win at Galbally over the New Year period having previously been successful in the reserve equivalent at Mitchelstown.
Consisting of five members of the Healy family from Kilfinane, Donal Healy exclaims “we are over the moon, especially for my dad John. He has been in dogs practically all his life and this is our first Trial Stake winner and first runner at Clonmel. We’ve had track dogs down the years but also a good few coursing dogs which we never had any luck with! This is the first one that was owned completely by the family, mum Mary with my brother David and sister Katie, so we’re all delighted”.
Hi Five Yankee has shown progressive form throughout the season and earned a reserve place in the classic on her third outing at Mitchelstown in Early December. A surprise opening round defeat at Knockgraffon followed two weeks later but undeterred, she arrived at Galbally on New Years Eve for a victory that impressed all in attendance when producing smart clocks throughout. “There’s no point asking me anything about the win” exclaims David. “I was a bag of nerves every time she was going up the field. Thankfully the bitch was cooler than I was. Mitchelstown had been drawn as sixth reserve and I suppose we could have taken our chances at that but with Galbally being a local meeting and all, we said we might as well give a go. It was great to win so close to home”.
Bred close to the Healy homestead she is also trained just a stones throw away from Kilfinane by John Browne and Hi Five Yankee will not be short of support in the Oaks. “It’s great for the breeders Brian Sheehan and Donal Keating to have so many qualifiers for Clonmel. As one man said to me, you’d win an All Ireland easier than you would win a Trial Stake. Everyone here is delighted for them and hopefully one of them can pull it off. There will be plenty of support for all of them and sure when you’re in the Browne camp you are guaranteed right posse. They are a great crew”!
The Healy family are all working members of the Ardpatrick Kilfinane Club and Denis was keen to mention the Kilflynn Open Coursing that takes place on Sunday February 8th with an open invite for all to attend and take respite with refreshments at the family business, which gave rise to the syndicate name, Healys Bar in Kilfinane where all the locals are practically part of the syndicate at this point, such is the interest in Hi Five Yankee.
Denis reports the bitch to be in good form ahead of her Oaks tilt and explains that the name came about after a Yankee bet that himself and brother David managed land. With five members in the syndicate, she was duly christened. So clearly a betting man I naturally asked if he had her backed at her current 25/1 quote and he replied with a  laugh “I’m not going to answer that”! But of course being our own, we are going to fancy her some bit. All we have heard from Johnny is that she’s ok. He’s a cool customer and we couldn’t be in better hands. I won’t be annoying him between now and Clonmel but sure all anyone can really hope for is to get over a few rounds and take whatever else comes your way after that. I hope you’ll be ringing me for another interview when the meeting is over”!

Abbeyfeale Oaks Trial Stake: Cryptic Kerry

Cryptic Oaks win at Abbeyfeale was not simple!

Owned by the Lifestyle Syndicate in Castleisland Co.Kerry, Cryptic Kerry (Razor Ashmore/Kerrykil Lass) gamely earned her Oaks ticket at Abbeyfeale despite nursing a shoulder injury and delights her connections who fully appreciate how lucky they are to be returning to the classic arena, believing it a privilege “that would make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck” to drive in the Lodge Gate with a runner at the Clonmel Festival.
Cryptic Kerry is owned in partnership by Linda Ferris and John O’Sullivan with the latter explaining, “the coursing is a real family orientated venture for us. My sister Eileen rears the dogs for me but everyone gets involved, Dave Nelligan and all the in-laws so it’s a big thing to have a winner. We were delighted with her in Abbeyfeale because to tell you the truth, I wasn’t even sure if I was going to put her up the semi-final with the shoulder. I have had great help with the dogs from physio Gerry Reilly and even without being there, he guided me through what to do with her between courses, over the phone! We just manipulated her whatever way he told us and I tell you the man is a genius. I’m exceptionally lucky to have him to turn to and I can’t thank him enough, he is priceless to have in our corner”.
Cryptic Kerry had looked a smart Trial Stake contender all season and her best performance before the Abbeyfeale win was when reaching the final at Lixnaw before defeat by Tobar Na Molt. “She ran well in Lixnaw and it would have been great to win there but in fairness the winner is a very good bitch so we couldn’t be too upset with our bitch there. It’s just good to see that she able to come for that and win one in the end”.
Dam Kerrykil Lass was an All-Aged Bitch Stake winner at Co.Kerry and John is delighted the get her breeding career off to a winning start. “I gave her to Walter and James Costello for breeding. They have a great set up and were just better equipped than me really, just to give the pups the best possible start and they certainly got that so you must thank them for me. It’s great to breed a Clonmel runner. Thankfully it compounds the fact that we are doing the right thing”.
Along with joint owner Linda Ferris, John is a working member of Castleisland Coursing Club and Sponsors the Oaks Trial Stake at the meeting with his sisters Magaret Nelligan and Eileen Jones. “Sure it’s all about keeping the sport alive and trying to run a good meeting every year”. Believing that youth is the key to strengthening the sport at it’s roots he would like to see the Junior Nominator incentive introduced at every meeting around the country. “If you keep the young people involved, you get their families too and we’re all getting older, if you don’t have the youngsters coming through it will be harder every year. It’s the small man on the ground keeping this whole thing going, the men with just a couple a dogs and they have to be helped in every way”.
John has twice had runners at Powerstown Park in the past. He was involved with his dad Sean and Dave Nelligan with Norwood Town some years ago and raised two flags in the 2011 Derby with Cool Storm ahead of two cup victories the following season. He heads to this year’s Oaks without prediction or expectation but with a real sense of privilege. “This is living the dream. How lucky are we to be going back after just four years? I read in the Sporting Press there lately about a man that had to wait 21 years to get back. To be one of only 64 in the two big ones is a special thing and that’s enough for me. Whatever comes after that is a bonus! It’s heart pounding stuff to compete in that arena”.
“She has progressed quite well with the shoulder injury and it’s just a case of hold it all together for the next couple of weeks. She was improving a bit with every round in Abbeyfeale so that was encouraging for her chances but all I’ll be doing and what I would say to anyone else is enjoy the journey! I want you to thank one more man for too. The great Mickey Murphy has been helping me out with her. It is invaluable to have him impart some of his knowledge on me. Everyone in these parts has the height of respect for him and surely he is a certainty for the Hall Of Fame”!

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Lixnaw Derby Trial Stake: Tromora Master

Master makes a first Tromora Derby runner after Lixnaw DTS

Tromora Master (Mafi Magic/Tromora Babe) earned his place in the 2015 Derby when impressively scything his way through Lixnaw’s 64 runner Trial Stake in late November, confirming the immense promise shown on his debut outing when reaching the semi-final at Milltown Malbay.
The season has not been as straight forward for the early May pup as it may seem on paper however as speaking on behalf of owner Kathleen Hogan of Quilty, son David explains “he looked good in his first course at Miltown Malbay and clocked up well but he went back a fair bit in his second course and it turned out he had given his wrist a bit of a tweak. In hindsight I probably should have pulled him out. We got to work on sorting out the wrist after that and he actually went to Lixnaw with just one gallop in five weeks! 
His Lixnaw win is yet more impressive in light of this fact and he clearly sticks to his task well in the heat of battle as David adds “he kept knocking out favourites, I think four times in the stake. He was in good order after the win and the form of the stake worked out well. You would have thought we were in a very good position given his preparation and we would have expected him to improve much more, but it’s never that simple! He was reserve for the All Age in South Clare and got in, but ran very flat in the first course and wouldn`t you just know, he had the wrist injury back”.
Injury has also cost dam Tromora Babe the chance to see more of her debut litter make a classic appearance this season as David describes the litter of five as “very promising”. Clonreddan Molly reached the Oaks Trial Stake final at Ennis Clarecastle before a semi-final run at Miltown Malbay and has advertised the litter very well all season. However, having won a members stake at the same venue, the smart Well Go Walking suffered a bad injury at South Clare, ending what connections believe was a highly promising career. Dam Tromora Babe was herself injured as a pup and bred at just 14 months, she has nine more saplings on the ground for next season by Bexhill Eoin.
The Hogan kennels have won three Trial Stakes previously and are delighted to finally have a Derby runner this year. Their best performance at Powerstown Park was that of Tromora Darkie, reaching quarter final stage in 2011 and she adds to the kennels string with eight pups by Mafi Magic. Four of these have already been sold with David intent on keeping the remaining four for training at home.

On Tromora Master’s Derby prospects, David is pragmatic in light of the wrist injury which has thrown a cloud over his preparations. “All we can do is see how things go at this stage. He had plenty of treatment and held up well to a hand gallop the other day. We won’t make a decision about a trial at Clonmel until closer the time. All we can do is our best for him between now and then, hopefully he can turn up on the day, ready to run”!

Sevenhouses Oaks Trial Stake: Cracking Doll

Doll claims Cracking victory in Sevenhouses Oaks

Owned by Miss Maria & Master John Kennedy of Gortnahoe Thurles, Cracking Doll (Janey Mac Aroo/Lakyle Vacume) appreciated the long coursing stretch at Sevenhouses last weekend when registering a most impressive victory in the Oaks Trial Stake and delights their dad, trainer John Kennedy by maintaining a presence at Powerstown Park for a third successive season with the progeny of brood bitch Lakyle Vacume.
Displaying 20150111_153754.jpg“It’s great to be going back again this year and I’m just delighted for the youngsters. They love the sport and it’s great to have a decent bitch for them. She did it well at the weekend but in fairness I think the field was the key to her. She had a setback early on when she done a toe first time up at Kilflynn and she was beaten then in the first round at Knockgraffon which I surprised about but it probably wasn’t so bad as it turned out to be the winner that got her. I was happy enough with her in Gorey too but again we were only beaten in the semi-final by the winner and the same again at Borrisoleigh in the final. All good bitches for sure but the long field definitely made a big difference to our one in Sevenhouses and she is probably still improving being only a May pup. I’m not saying we’d have beat all them in a longer field but sure you know where we’re going next”! 
Well known throughout the track racing scene for his extensive successful exploits with a virtual conveyor belt of talented litters perennially producing top class open racers, John has had some success on the coursing field in the past but admits to a fresh venture into coursing when acquiring Lakyle Vacume from John Doheny for her mating to Central City in 2011. That litter produced two impressive Trial Stake winners through Cracking Jet and Cracking Lord with the latter returning two Cup wins the following season for a Champion Stakes appearance in 2014 while Cracking Jet also picked up a Cup at Borrisoleigh. A bitch from that litter, Joyful Lady will extend this new coursing breeding venture for the kennels and she has pups on the ground for next year by New Inn Wonder with John believing this merger of track lines through Central City and the sires classic winning coursing breeding, can prove fruitful.
“I suppose you could say I’m looking to diversify the kennels and hopefully match some of the successes we’ve had on the track, in the field! Lakyle Vacume is in pup now to Kilimor Matey but I’ve also bought in a Kingsmill Dynamo/Smokey Millie bitch from Tommy Dwyer and a pup out of last season’s Freshford Trial Stake winner Marriage Wrecker, so that’s our full string for now”.
It is clearly evident that John puts the continued health and promotion of the sport on a par or even above his own personal achievements believing that the continual integration of new people to the sport is essential. He has a passion for the fostering of youngsters within the game and takes great pride in announcing that his own kids would one hundred percent of the time choose coursing over the track. “They would be up to help in the mornings and spend their weekends with the dogs. This bitch is in Maria and John’s name but you might as well include Laura too, they are all the one”! When you see these young people involved and so passionate about it, their friends get to hear about it and take an interest, that gives you a great opportunity to reach new families and we need to pounce on these chances, work to get them in the gate and let the sport get them hooked”!

He reports Cracking Doll in good form after the win saying “she was a bit tired after it in fairness. I didn’t know if I was doing right or wrong but I gave her no gallop from Borrisoleigh to Sevenhouses. I kind of said if she’s able for it, well and good. She’s perked up again today though. The young fellow gave a good while inside in the kennel Sunday night talking to her and kissing her, she’s the pride and joy now sure and that seems to have done the trick”!

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Ballymena Derby Trial Stake: Annual Assembly

Winners Assembley at Ballymena for Annual classic tilt

Annual Assembley (Killimor Matey/Valentia Popstar) had looked a very smart prospect in his two previous outings before claiming his Derby ticket at Ballymena last weekend when delighting owner Donal Wilson and family of Johnstown with an impressive performance that further reinforces the kennels resurgence of form in 2014/15 having been without a Powerstown runner for twelve years.
Having qualified Annual Edition (Derby Pines/Latest Gamble) for the Oaks through victory at Edenderry earlier in the season the kennels is firmly back in the thick of classic action, a position they have not enjoyed since Annual Flight contested the Oaks in 2002. “We are absolutely over the moon” declares Donal. “We have been steeped in luck this year. To be twelve years without a winner, we could hardly win a course! It was like a famine, we only won one duffer in that time! Now it has all just come together this year, we are thrilled”.
Annual Assembley began his season when narrowly defeated to Ashwood Alonso in the final at Enniscorthy before a third round exit at Wexford, also to eventual winner Ashmore Phantom. These defeats failed to discourage Donal about the ability of his Derby contender however as he explains, “He ran very well in both meetings and both those winners are very decent dogs. He had a fall in the semi-final at Enniscorthy which didn’t help in the final and he was a bit sore afterwards but that’s not to take anything from the winner. The defeat at Wexford was a great course and it could have gone either way, it was nearly just about the way the hare turned. Ashmore Phantom went on and won very well after that so it looked like very good form.”
“Thankfully everything went right at Ballymena. He ran well all the way. We were anxious enough going into the semi-final against Whatdoyoufancy though. I had seen him run earlier in the season and knew he was a right good one. We were lucky enough to get away in front there and kept that all the way up the field. I’d have huge respect for all the Matthews family and to beat their runners in the semi-final and final is an achievement in itself”.
“He’s in good shape after the win. We’ve been lucky with him really, no real injury worries all year but we do owe a huge debt of gratitude to Kevin Barry who reared him for us because apart from giving him a great start in life, he also repaired him after he badly damaged a hind paw at twelve months. You can still see some very bad scarring but Kevin delivered him ready to run, a brilliant job”!
Donal also reports their Oaks contender Annual Edition to be “spot on” for Clonmel. She followed her Edenderry win with a first round defeat in Old Kilcullen’s Puppy Stake before a withdrawal from the semi-final of the All Age Bitch Stake at North Kilkenny. “She was unlucky enough to come up against a dog in the first round at Kilcullen I suppose but there was a bump in the course and she still gave a good account of herself. We withdrew her from the semi-final then in North Kilkenny, just keeping her ticking over really. She’s in good order for Powerstown”.
The Wilson drought has well and truly ended this season as dad John is also part owner of North Kilkenny Derby Trial Stake winner Defacto with Michael Ryan and Jim Morrisey. John Wilson has a rich Powerstown pedigree with many runners in the classics but Donal recalls Annual Appeal as the family’s best Clonmel performer. “I was just a young lad at the time and I suppose I didn’t really understand the importance of it all but he was great dog. He went to the semi-final of the Derby that was won by Tullamore in 1996 and was back for the Champion Stakes the following year, going down to Form Of Tender in the final. He was out of dad’s bitch, Lady Natasha and we haven’t bred a litter since then but we are back breeding again now. We have a litter of pups on the ground for next year out of Bosca Ceoil by Killimor Matey and they look great at this stage”.

The kennels also saw their Annual Exchange run-up the Edenderry Derby Trial Stake in this campaign. A full brother to Killimor Matey from a repeat mating, he has struggled for full fitness with minor injuries since but along with their current classic contenders, he looks set to be part of continued revival for the Wilson’s with promising All Age campaigns likely for next season. As regards their chances for glory at Clonmel however, Donal exclaims “we are just delighted to be there. Hopefully we can just keep hanging in there, have a bit of craic and have a runner come Monday morning”!

Templetouhy Oaks Trial Stake: Coffee In Spirit

Coffee keeps the Spirits high at Templetouhy

A complete and utter passion for coursing is almost a prerequisite to begin to prepare a contender for a Trial Stake first round and in the case of owner and breeder Fergus Flynn of Clonmel, that passion and an all consuming pride can be detected with every breath in recalling the victory of Coffee In Spirit (Kyle James/Coffee In Currow) in Templetouhy’s Oaks Trial Stake along with the achievements of his litter in claiming three Oaks tickets in the space of three weeks.

“I’m thrilled. To get three qualified late in the season is just brilliant. All the early signs were that they could run and there was good word coming from all the kennels. They are May pups, so it’s only natural that they would be improving as the year went on. I owe a huge thanks to Michael Lillis though because the morning Coffee In Currow was having the pups, she was very heavy and I put an advert up on the internet for a foster mother. Michael was on to me straight away and his bitch actually reared four of them. I was so delighted then when Alva Lil was the first winner from the litter for him at Dungarvan”.

“Clontouhy then was the next to win at Wexford and again I’m over the moon for Paudie and Ger Everard they are great lads. The day Paudie was picking his pup we had it down to the two white bitches and he had his choice. That left me with Coffee In Spirit, there was only one place she was going for training then! David Flanagan and Margaret Barrett trained the mother and they are just geniuses. I can’t thank them enough and you have to try get it across how grateful I am to them. There is none better at what they do, I think the world of them and Birdy too! They have five qualified now, four bitches and a dog”.

This is Coffee In Currow’s first litter and Fergus suggests that this coming week, might, bring more success with some talented pups entered for the final scramble. There will be seven contenders for next season from her second litter of January pups to Kingsmill Dynamo. Being a six month bitch, she will also have seven more from a July mating to Kyle Ranger and Fergus reports that he suspects she is now in pup from a very recent mating to Adios Alonso. “Pups have been going for a song up to this but the Alonso’s will be a little bit more expensive”, he laughs.

Completely unassuming as regards the Clonmel prospects of his own Coffee In Spirit, Fergus continued to express his gratitude to all who have lent a helping hand along the way with special mention for the breeders of Coffee In Currow. “I am so grateful to Walter & James Costello in Currow, Killarney for entrusting me with that bitch. I bought her at three months and I’m just glad I could do the line justice. From these qualifiers at the moment, you can now go back six generations in a direct line where all the bitches have won Trial Stakes, now that’s not bad”! I’d be a right one for studying bloodlines but I have never met anyone who can trace breeding like James Costello and then be able to apply all that to produce a winning litter, I haven’t met his match yet”!

Coffee In Spirit began the season by running-up the Trial Stake at Liscannor. Some time off then preceded three defeats before this highly impressive win at Templetouhy in a field containing many talented pups. Few park fields can match the length of Templetouhy so it may be safe to assume that Clonmel will hold no fears. Jointly owned by Navan man Larry Mallon, Fergus is delighted to provide his partner with a first Powerstown runner. “Larry is some man for 83 years old. This is going to be brilliant, his first runner at Clonmel”!

Coffee In Spirit will of course be treading on familiar ground once she enters the Lodge car park on Saturday morning as many will know that the Flynn homestead adjoins the stables of Powerstown Park and Fergus extends the invite for those seeking respite from the cold again this year saying, “the door will be open for a drop of something hot or a bit of warmth, anyone that knows us at all, just call in”!

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Abbeyfeale Derby Trial Stake: Cash Call

Cash answers the Call in Abbeyfeale DTS

Cash Call (Adios Alonso/Ballyina Lady) scored a most deserved victory in the Derby Trial Stake at Abbeyfeale on his sixth outing of the season and will see his delighted owner, Dan Nelligan of Castleisland, return to Powerstown Park with the first dog he has owned for over twenty years!

Having been heavily involved in coursing in his younger years, Dan returned to the sport with the purchase of Cash Call and upon congratulating him for this victory, his first response was, “I expected it! I know he was out six times but he was always better than that suggests. I fully believed he would win a Trial Stake from very early on. He started with a defeat at Kilflynn but he was just very green there and still had little enough training for next time out at Ballyheigue. He was going along well there until he damaged a dew claw in the semi-final win so that didn’t help, I probably shouldn’t have put him up the final”!

“He ran unsighted then in Listowel before getting beat by the winner in the semi-final at Bandon & Careys Cross but thankfully we got our bit of luck for a finish and got him over the line. He was outsider in nearly every course at Abbeyfeale but he was there with them all on the clocks really and did it very well. He’s with a right good trainer, Pat O’Connor in Tarbert. He has a few qualified now including Brownes Kitchen who beat me in that Ballyheigue final. He’s had a few minor setbacks on top of the dew claw during the season but all small things really and Pat will have him in good order for Clonmel. I’ve had a list of fellas interested in buying him all along but I wouldn’t sell him even if he didn’t win a Trial Stake, I think he’ll make a nice Cup dog for next year no matter what happens, we’ll take our chances!”.

Dam, Ballina Lady has now made a highly impressive start to her breeding career with this first litter as Kingtone Jessie has also qualified for Clonmel through Oaks Trial Stake victory at Mooncoin. Leased by Brian Kelly in Kilkenny for this mating Dan explains, “I saw the litter advertised but I was late calling and ended up with no choice. I was told there was only one dog left for sale, maybe I was better off! It’s the first dog I owned for twenty years so I’m just glad it all worked out lucky”.

“I had a good few Trial Stake dogs back the years. Some I’d sell, maybe even if they had only won two rounds of a Trial Stake but I also had a couple in Clonmel. I think I only raised one flag in the Oaks with Knockeen Madam in the late seventies but just before her I had another Oaks runner, Ding Dong Daisy. Herself and the other bitch took off in the first round and the pair of them chased a crow. The other bitch saw the hare first and got the flag of course, so that was my first experience of a runner in Powerstown, I`ll be hoping for a bit better on my first go back!”

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Roscommon Oaks Trial Stake: Isabelles Charm

Third time a Charm for Isabelle at Roscommon

Having reached the final stage of two Trial Stakes this season, Kieran Prendeville of Athenry felt the pressure build in the Oaks Trial Stake at Roscommon where his Isabelles Charm (Adios Alonso/Exact Science) gamely earned her Clonmel ticket and some overdue reward for her impressive performances throughout the season.

Kieran explains, “it was great to finally get her over the line. It’s plenty late in the season at this stage and once she won the first couple of rounds you start to realise, this is her last chance, you wouldn’t be able to get her out again!”

Isabelles Charm has looked a very decent prospect all season and was beaten by fellow club members, Martin Keane and Albert Long with Aveia at Kieran’s home meeting, Loughrea, back in October. “I still had her myself at that time and was happy with her in Loughrea. I always liked her and she was starting to show good form at that stage. I would have liked to get her qualified there and then but sure I couldn’t begrudge Martin and Albert. I gave her to Kevin Marmion for training after Loughrea and he has done great work with her”.

“We went to Killimer Kilrush after that and honestly expected her to win there. It was disappointing to lose out in the final but we have to hand it to the winner, Sequin, she was very decent. It was a bit frustrating to have lost two finals at that stage but she was taking her coursing well and getting fitter all the time. We thought Roscommon would suit her well with the length of the field but I’ver been going there a good many years and it is a hard place to win at this time of year so the pressure was well and truly on”!

“She was getting behind in most of her courses but running well from halfway. You get good long clocks in Roscommon and she was nearly fastest all the way. I was happy the way she compared with the other stakes on the clock too. It was great to get a change of luck but in fairness she did everything right herself, there was no mistakes this time. The way she was staying on from halfway, you would have to think she will love the hill in Powerstown”.

“The way the season has gone with her, it’s actually nearly perfect timing to qualify, now that she’s finally there. She’s super fit at this stage and was getting her tongue back very quickly after her courses. She’s as tough as old boots and is taking it all in her stride, bouncing after the win. There won’t be much to do with her between now and then just keep her ticking over. We have no worries with her season or anything like that, she broke in the summer so provided the next few weeks go without a hitch, we are all set”.

“I bought her off Bobby O’Connell and actually reared one for one so I better thank a friend of mine Kieran Bourke because when we were picking her, we just mixed up the forms and he made the choice. I actually won my only other Trial Stake on the 27th of December also, with Slieveroe Lady, who Kieran bred, at Tralee back in 2008 so I suppose you could say that Christmas is lucky for me! She got beaten in the first round of the Oaks so hopefully we can improve on that. If she gets over a round or two she might prove hard to beat!”



Co.Kerry Derby Trial Stake: Misty Ramona

Misty bridges thirty year gap at Co.Kerry

Ramona Misty (Johnny Casanova/Misty Hazel) showed much improved form in the Co.Kerry Coursing Meeting at Tralee to claim his Derby ticket on Saturday last and justifies the decision of Ballyduff owner Pat Ferris to once again venture into coursing ownership, almost thirty years after his last runner in the field.

“I’d have mostly only kept track dogs really all along, it must be twenty or thirty years since I was involved in a coursing dog but I’m delighted with this fellow, it’s great to come back with a winner. I think I might have to chance another one for next year” exclaims Pat.

Ramona Misty began his campaign in a duffer stake at Abbeydorney, reaching the semi-final before raising two flags in the Derby Trial Stake at Lixnaw. He stepped up markedly on these performances for victory at Co.Kerry and Pat lays the plaudits for this improvement firmly with trainer Jim Bob Allen, also of Ballyduff.

“I started him off at Abbeydorney and he actually ran fairly well for the first two rounds there but I still had him at that stage and being honest, he had hardly any training for it really. He wasn’t long enough with Jim Bob then for Lixnaw but that obviously brought him on a fair bit and he had him spot on for Tralee. He has done a great job with him. I fancied him going into the meeting alright, I wouldn’t be betting big but I had a few bob on, he did it well”.

Also bred in Ballyduff, by Michael Houlihan, dam Misty Hazel was herself a Duffer stake winner and has previously thrown a Trial Stake winner through Misty Herris in a litter to Droopys Saunders. She may be considered unlucky not to see two of her current litter qualify on Saturday last as Misty Hackup went to the final of Cork’s Bitch Trial Stake despite a back to slips on day one but continues a trend as the litter seems to be improving throughout the season and further progress for Ramona Misty may be likely between now and Powerstown where Pat recalls some precious memories, albeit almost forty years ago. “We did alright back in the day, all the family were involved back then. We had a few qualifiers for Clonmel and we went to the semi-final of the Oaks with Ramona Point in 1979. That was a great litter for us by Heather Point out of our own brood bitch, Rathmona Black. We won the Kitty Butler Stake the same year with a comrade Asdee Black”.

Pat reports Ramona Misty in good form after the win and agrees that his form holds up well to scrutiny. A semi-final defeat in a duffer stake may not be the usual starting point for a Derby contender but the level of his progress since can be measured by the fact that he beat two previous Trial Stake runners-up on his way to victory at Co.Kerry in the form of Wicked Monk and Wizard Matthew.

Owned, bred and trained in Ballyduff, Pat quips “ah we favour our own down here, sure they’re all coursing mad. There’s always a few local dogs to cheer on in Clonmel and this year will be the same thank god. All we can do now is hope for a bit of luck, you’ll win nothing without it. Hopefully he can get over a few rounds and sure we’ll see how the luck holds up after that!”





Cappoquin Oaks Trial Stake: Kilfergus Belle

Kilfergus is Belle of the ball at Cappoquin

Kilfergus Belle (Castle Pines/Quality And Dash) for Colin Wallace confirmed the promise shown in her early season outings and found the necessary improvement needed to impressively secured her Oaks ticket at Cappoquin and provide yet another classic berth for a fervent coursing stronghold in Glin Co.Limerick.

She began her campaign at Kilflynn when raising three flags before exiting at quarter final stage of that 64 runner event ahead of a surprise opening round defeat at Castleisland. She followed this, winning two courses at Kilimer Kilrush but improving all the while Colin explains that she had taken some time to learn her trade. “She ran very green in Kilflynn and I was surprised when she got beat at Castleisland because I thought it would have brought her on but in fairness she has improved throughout the year. She’s a real hardy type and she honestly looks as if you could never get the end of her. She was up against the odds all the way at Cappoquin but the further it went and the tougher it got, the more she liked it! When you look at the way she won and with her breeding, you have to think she’ll love it up Clonmel”.

Out of Quality And Dash, Kilfergus Belle is the litter’s second Oaks qualifier of the season for the brilliant Champion Bitch Stake runner-up of 2011 when withdrawn from the final. She ran up the Select All Age Bitch Stake at the 2010 Irish Cup meeting as a pup before two All Age Bitch Stake wins. This is her second litter and she saw Bold And Brazen qualify for last year’s Derby, along with High Black Jack in her first litter to Kingsmill Dynamo.

“I never knew Seamus or Catherine O’Meara before I bought the bitch. It was Kieran Flynn in Tarbert who put me onto this litter so I better thank him for that” Colin explains.

The kennels are having what Colin describes as their best year in Park Coursing as, in a combined effort with wife, Mairead Horan, they have also won an All Age Bitch Stake with Floating Cove and enter Clonmel with sporting claims of Champion Stakes success in the form of this season’s highly impressive Killimer Kilrush All Age winner Floating Patriot. “I married into a right coursing family alright. We can’t complain about the year we’ve had so far in fairness with just three runners. Mairead’s dad Timothy trains the dog and my own dad Joe Wallace is training the two bitches but we are all within a stones throw of each other here so you could say we are all the one really”.

“We have the mother of the two All Agers here, Floating Spirit and sure we have to keep breeding with her now, she’s going so well but now we have two more bitches for breeding after this year. We’re going to have more brood bitches than racers! I suppose we can’t complain for a small operation”.

Colin was eager to praise the Cappoquin Club for for a great meeting saying, “They had outstanding hares and Martin Murphy gave an exhibition of slipping behind them. The club were very obliging, a real sound bunch of lads.”

A working member of Glin Coursing Club the conversation could not end without Colin expressing his pride for the Club’s efforts in 2014 and considers himself very lucky to be part of such a strong coursing community and hard working club. Kilfergus Belle is assured of plenty support for Powerstown and with the pressure relieved somewhat since qualifying Colin exclaims, “It’s just a matter of getting her there sound now, there is very little to do between now and then, the timing is not bad at all. Hopefully she can get over a couple of rounds and we can see the best of her when it really starts to get tough”!



Castletown Geoghan Oaks TS: Coolree Nadene

Nadene registers Cool victory in Castletown Oaks

Coolree Nadene (Go Home Hare/Coolree Keeper) earned her place in the 2015 Oaks with a highly impressive passage through Castletown Geoghan’s qualifier last week, delivering on her promising early season appearances and in doing so has rejuvenated her delighted owner/trainer Eugene Glennon of Dolla, Nenagh, along with the many connections of sire Go Home Hare as she is a product of his one and only mating!

“It has given me such a lift” exclaims Eugene. “Every little job around the kennels that was on the long finger for months, is getting done now. The place is spotless again. I`m looking at the walls here at the moment, I think they’ll be next. I’m going to wash everything, ha”!

“I`ve been waiting a long time since my last Trial Stake winner and it just makes everything so much easier. I’m walking to the kennels with a smile on my face in the morning now, nothing is a chore when you have a qualifier for Clonmel”!

Coolree Nadene began the season when raising two flags before a quarter-final withdrawal at Kilflynn and was again withdrawn after a first round victory at Westmeath United. Eugene explains, “I liked her from the word go, she was always so forward as a pup and developed into a fast galloper very quickly but she picked up niggling injuries almost from the very start. I was always conscious of them, hence the withdrawals. She went to the quarter-final at Nenagh after that but in truth, she wasn’t all that well in herself and I shouldn’t have ran her there really”.

“You couldn’t say she was exactly spot on last week either. I was working away on a few things all the time and I do believe she was a couple of lengths off where she should be but it was her last chance to qualify because she will be hitting her puppy time next week. It’s a huge relief to get her over the line because now, the time she would have needed to be off, can be used to work on all the little problems and get her right for Clonmel. If all that goes to plan, you would have to think, she could only improve”.

Eugene is delighted also to have a Powerstown runner from sire, Go Home Hare’s only litter and believes she can start a desirable breeding line in the future that will be an outcross for many existing bloodlines but his most memorable Powerstown experience has a very similar ring to it!

“My best year in Clonmel was 1992 when I had three runners standing on the last morning. Coolree Special went to the last eight of the Oaks and I had a runner in each of the consolations. Their dam was Coolree Ash and I was booked in for a mating in Brian Divilly’s with Crafty Toledo, I think but long story short, that didn’t materialise and I’m sure we had another failure before Brian said, I have a dog here that broke his leg on me but I think he was right good one, do you want to chance him? I can’t even remember his name, isn’t that terrible (it was Crafty Bianco Eugene) but I think that was his only mating too, so maybe that’s the way to go altogether! I was twenty one years waiting for a Trial Stake winner before that litter and then three came together”.

A native of Kilbeggan, Eugene grew up just seven miles from Castletown Geoghan and admits that this was a special victory, coming so close to home. He thanks all in the club saying “They were brilliant, I think every member in the field congratulated me before I left and I also have to say thanks to the connections of runners that she beat, they were all so gracious in defeat. It’s such a competitive sport but the class of the people within it, is huge. I’ve gotten so many calls since too and it’s extremely uplifting”.

Now a working member of Nenagh Coursing Club since a move from Enfield fifteen years ago, Eugene has much to look forward to in the coming weeks as he will contest the Champion Duffer Stake at Sevenhouses following the victory of his Coolree Romeo in this year’s Members Stake. “Nenagh is a great club, I’ve made so many friends here and it is a real source of enjoyment for me. They are such a hard working group and run fantastic meetings, but being a part of it and seeing the effort, it is no surprise. I was delighted to win the Members Stake this year and I’m looking forward to Sevenhouses. I ran it up once when it was held in Limerick and I’d say he has strong chance in it this year”!

Eugene readily admits that his memory is bad but an unfortunate house fire some years ago didn’t help as among much else he lost all photos, cards, jackets and other memorabilia from his 1992 Powerstown exploits. So, now firmly back in Classic contention we tender best wishes as Coolree Nadene creates new memories of her own in 2015.



Castletown Geoghan DTS: Blades Of Hope

Hopes run high for Guiney’s after Castletown Geoghan DTS

The Derby Trial Stake at Castletown Geoghan returned a most impressive winner when the mother and daughter combination of Tara Guiney & Erin Jacobsen saw their Blades Of Hope confirm the immense promise shown in his debut outing when runner-up at Nenagh for a dominant victory that will see him on many shortlists for Powerstown Park.

Denis Guiney with Dam, Blades Of Glory
A member of this season’s winning most litter, it seemed only appropriate to conduct this interview with breeder and Tara’s brother, Denis Guiney who answered the call on Monday morning. A pragmatic character, his pride not only at the victory of the Gerry Holian trained Blades Of Hope but also for the brilliant breeding achievement of his dam, Blades Of Glory, was clearly evident even through his calm and collected fa├žade. He has now seen six of this litter, consisting of four dogs and five bitches, earn classic tickets this season and is delighted for his dam who he describes as one of the unluckiest Clonmel runners that he can remember.

A trial stake winner at Rathkeale, Blades Of Glory went on to win two All Age Bitch Stakes in the following season but Denis recalls her Powerstown exploits with dismay. “She was a great bitch. She was favourite for the 2008 Oaks and flew up the field in the first round. No disrespect to the bitch that knocked her out in the second round but she got very sick on the Monday night and her chance was gone then really. I thought she had the Champion Bitch Stake in the bag then but sure, she broke down when she was leading in the final. I thought she had just cramped at first but she actually broke her hock, that was tough to take”!

She had already made a highly impressive start to her breeding career before this current litter with Denis’s own, Blades Of Joy and Blades Of Steel winning Trial Stakes in her first litter to Musical Time with the latter also adding an All Age Bitch Stake at Kilflynn. However, from a litter of just four pups, this mating also contained the 2013 Derby semi-finalist Kilkeale Hero for neighbour, Brian Wilmott. He qualified at Edenderry before beating his Derby conqueror, Thomas The Tank in Old Kilcullen’s Puppy Stake Final and to this day remains unbeaten apart from that Derby semi-final with Denis explaining, “he only ever lost one course and that was to Thomas The Tank and the Tank only ever lost one course and that was to Kilkeale Hero”!

In her second litter to Murtys Blaze, again with just four pups, she threw Dealbhna Mor, a reserve winner at Balbriggan before an All Age victory at Ballinagar this season along with Vale View Flyer who has also added an All Age event at Abbdorney to his Galbally Trial Stake win of last year. With the performance of her current litter to Kyle James, she is undoubtedly one of the most prolific dam’s in the sport right now.

Not one to get over excited, Denis describes Blades Of Hope saying, “ah yeah, he’s a good dog alright. I was very impressed the way he was lining up his hare at the weekend, he was watching every move, chasing it mad. He probably did improve a bit from Nenagh alright but he was ready for anything there too, he was beaten by a very good dog there, the Derby favourite sure, we had no excuses”! Hopefully there is more improvement to come before Clonmel and he did take everything very well at the weekend, he was as fresh as you could hope for after the win”.

pic: Courtesy of Eric Jacobsen
Almost simultaneously, another of the litter, Sharp Edge was earning his Derby Ticket for Noreen & Kieran McManus at Dungarvan, making the weekend highly successful for all involved, following Breska Lantern’s victory at Tradaree on Thursday but Denis harbours special pride for the victory of Neil Enright’s Carrowclough at their home meeting. “I only reared two of them myself, Blades Of Hope and Carrowclough so it was great to see her win in Rathkeale. Neil actually beat Blades Of Glory in her first ever final at Limerick City back in 2008 with a right good bitch, Boss Diamond”.

“This is only Tara’s second dog to own, her first was Ban Ri who went to the semi-final of the Irish Cup in 1988 so you would have to say, she’s a lucky owner so far, I…. Hope…. it keeps up”!


Tradaree Oaks Trial Stake: Breska Lantern

Lantern lights up the Oaks market at Tradaree

Owned by Master Mark Doolan of Clarina Co.Limerick, Breska Lantern (Kyle James/Blades Of Glory) catapulted herself to the top of the 2015 Oaks market with an utterly dominant display throughout Tradaree’s Oaks Trial Stake last week, giving her young owner a second Powerstown runner at the tender age of just seven years.

“He was too young to know what was happening but he had his first Trial Stake winner in 2008 with Breska More who won for us at Regional” explains dad Niall. “We would have had track dogs all my life with my own father, Sean and Breska More was our first ever coursing dog. We are working members for the Regional Club so I said we may get involved and since then we keep one or two for coursing every year. Mark was in school last week so missed Tradaree but he will hopefully make his catching debut with me at Clonmel, provided all goes well between now and then”!

“I bought her from Denis Guiney of course. I know him well for a number of years, we’d be the one age and I’m delighted the way the litter is going for him. I always liked the dam and it was heartbreaking when she broke down in the Champion Bitch Stake at Clonmel. I remember asking him at the time, to keep a pup for me if he got the chance. I was waiting a while but he rang and said he had a bitch for me if I still wanted one. I asked if I had a choice and he replied no! What’s wrong with her says I? She’s the pick of the litter says Denis, the only reason she was left is because she’s blue, if I was picking one for myself I’d have her”.

“Well I have to say he was right. Anyone that saw her growing up would admire her and say the same. She always looked so well made and the same to this day. Pat Curtin trained the last qualifier for us so I had no hesitation going the same route again. Sure he’s delighted with her too. I think she may even have surprised him a small bit with the manner of the win, she wouldn’t exactly kill herself at home but Doon brought her on a mile”.

Breska Lantern made her first appearance at Doon when beaten in round two by her litter sister and eventual winner, Boshski. Niall explains “It was hard to believe the clocks were so fast in Doon but it does seem like they might be accurate enough after the way this week has gone. Her comrade is very smart and she had an outing before Doon but she was fast away against our bitch there and Pat said he felt our one just tightened a small bit but she was spot on after it and improved an awful lot to Tradaree”.

“Pat took her in about six weeks before Doon and has done some job because she is actually in season right now. Her pupping time will be the first week in January so he will have a bit of a balancing act to deliver her fit and ready for Powerstown but sure that’s why she’s there, he knows how to get the job done and I have every faith. I had actually considered taking her home to mate her but he was having none of it, there’s no dog going on her, he told me. Sure he only had her a week or ten days in the first place and told me not talk to him until the draw for Clonmel, so it’s fair to say he liked her very early on”.

“I want to thank both Doon and Tradaree for allowing us into their meetings. I think the Tradaree crew are delighted to have the Oaks favourite running for them and I’m hoping they’ll all be cheering her on in Clonmel but if she is still favourite by that time it will be on her form. There is no fancy money gone on her before or since the win. It is nice to be sitting on the Oaks favourite at this stage, I’ll admit that but I’ve had offers already and turned them down. She was bought to race and whatever comes of that, so be it but she was also bought for breeding and that’s where her future is”.

“I think Clonmel will suit her very well. She was coming away in Tradaree but once she went through the gap as I call it, she was opening right up after about eighty yards and just pulling away. We are just going to relax now and enjoy it all, Pat can have all the pressure, he is well able for it. Hopefully all goes well and we can enjoy a family day out, or maybe three!

Newcastlewest Oaks Trial Stake: DELONSO

Delonso improves to land game Newcastlewest Oaks victory

Good friends and next door neighbours, Joe Collins & Morty Aherne of Abbeyfeale, took their first venture into coursing with trial stake success for their bitch Delotti ahead of the 2010 Oaks and continued their winning ways at Newcastlewest last weekend when guiding her daughter, Delonso (Adios Alonso/Delotti) to a game victory in the Oaks Trial Stake.

Joe explains “It was all track with us before we bought Delotti, she was our first coursing runner”. She proved to be the perfect starting point for the new coursing recruits, earning her Oaks ticket at the first attempt in Kilflynn before raising two flags in the 2010 Oaks and returned to Kilflynn for All Age success the following season. This being her first litter, Joe is extremely proud to get her breeding career off to a winning start which is quite an achievement from limited opportunity as the litter contained just one dog and one bitch. With Delonso’s dog comrade suffering early career setbacks, this was the kennels only opportunity to do so!

Delonso had appeared three times this season before her victory at Newcastlewest but looked a smart talent on all occasions. A second round defeat at Rathkeale followed a semi-final exit at Thurles, all after showing good pace at Abbeydorney on her debut where she was a quarter-final victim to eventual winner, Ballymac Adelpha. She avenged that defeat in small part by accounting for her litter comrade, Ballymac Alberta in Sunday’s final. “It was a great course in the final, the runner-up is a good bitch and led our girl to halfway but she came from behind well for about a length or a length and a half win but we’d have settled for a just up” Joe exclaims.

“She had a few outings and was improving all the time but she actually broke a toe in Rathkeale last time. We had a patch up job done and thankfully it seems ok to run with now, it would have been very bad timing to lose a couple of months with her. She’s very young, a June pup, so she was entitled to improve with each day out and hopefully she can find another bit between now and Clonmel”.

“I would love to run her in the puppy stake at Abbeyfeale, sure Morty is chairman but she has had enough outings really for her age and with the toe n` all we’ll just put her away now and get her as right as we can. There’s no fear of her today, she’s in good form after it all. I did train two Trial Stake winners in the last couple of years for other people but for myself and Morty this will be just our second runner at Clonmel”. Joe also reports dam, Delotti in great form and her second mating proved a more fruitful venture, in numbers at least, with four dogs and one bitch by Razor Ashmore to contest Trial Stakes next season.

Speaking with Joe, his respect for the Aherne family is clearly evident, most particularly for Morty’s dad Pat to whom he attributes the bulk of Delonso’s training for this season along with his own interest in Greyhounds. “My family were not greyhound people, I can blame Pat for that. He’s the main man in fairness, he has done most of the work with the bitch this year. He’s eighty two years old and this win means more to him than anything, it will be his first Powerstown runner”.
View The Photos Here http://yvonneharrington.smugmug.com/Other-2/NEWCASTLEWEST/46200659_nb49tQ#!i=3746947855&k=Rq8Mjhv




Glanworth Oaks Trial Stake: DAYTHEMUSICDIED

Daythemusicdied sings winning tune in Glanworth Oaks

Owned by Pat O`Donovan & Finbarr O`Connor, Daythemusicdied (Prevelence/Why Tanyard Kay) gleefully dispelled the losing final emotions, so dreaded by her connections when finding the necessary improvement in her fourth outing of the season to claim a most impressive Oaks Trial Stake victory at Glanworth on Thursday last.

A delighted Pat O`Donovan of Dunmanway explains “it’s a super feeling in all fairness. I’m just so glad she won the final. I know too well what it’s like to lose them and it’s the loneliest feeling in the world. I’d be stuck in lots of different sports but losing the final of a Trial Stake is the worst feeling of them all. I won my first one in 2011 with All Aboard but I had lost seven finals before that, sure I lost three of them with the same dog, Bakers Glory. I’d know the connections of the runner-up, Long Drive and I know only too well how they feel”.

Daythemusicdied began this season with a round one defeat at Kilflynn but Pat explains “she actually damaged her dew claw that day and in hindsight, Galway & Oranmore might have come a bit soon for her after that, although we did think she’d win that day but she just never came away in the third round. She was knocked out in the second round then in Johnstown but she still ran well. Plenty of lads thought we got a wrong flag there but I was right up the top of the field and I had no problem with the decision at all. It was so tight I actually thought, who’d be a judge”!

There was no such drama just five days later at Glanworth however and she was highly impressive when displaying smart early pace to dominate in all her courses. “She’s a bullet out of slips and hit the front early in all her courses. Her second round clock was very fast and she went 1-1 money after that but that course was the only one where she was fully on the path the whole way up, so that would be her true clock really. It was the one day I didn’t back her, even Damien Lonergan said they were waiting for the money to arrive in Boyles but it never came”!

Joint owner Finbarr O’Connor of Cleanaway fame, a Millstreet native is now working in Carlow but the naming of the bitch was solely down to Pat and he explains that he dropped his “Bakers” prefix on the matter of fact advice of friend Donal Leahy. “What am I going to do about this naming craic? Bakers is very unlucky. Drop it says Donal, so between us we came up with All Aboard and that proved luckier, so I never even renewed the prefix after that but Daythemusicdied is all down to Michael Keenan and it has nothing to do with the song”!

“I’d know Michael very well and I was very disappointed for him when Needham Simple and Needham Danger were beaten in the first round of the Derby last year. I text him shortly after and all that was in the message was, “the day the music died” and couldn`t resist naming her that. He was the first man to ring me on Thursday after the win, fair play to him and I actually had a cousin in Old Kilcullen where Michael was on the same day and he said the biggest roar was when Michael got news that our bitch won in Glanworth”!

Pat, a baker from Dunmanway could not heap enough praise on trainer, Denis O’Driscoll explaining, “myself and Denis are friends for years and you won’t find better than that man but sure all his dogs are fed on my bread so he can’t go wrong. I remember telling Anne Marie O’Brien of the Sporting Press about my claim to fame in 2011 when I was feeding both Oaks winners, Skellig Babe in the field and Droopys Twirl on the track” he laughs. “I also told Tony O’Connor when he was on his kennel visit this year that we would be in Clonmel with Daythemusicdied and that there was a right chance we would be at the awards too! I’m sticking to that prediction for now anyway, sure we’re all stone mad!

“She’s only around the 70lb mark so she won’t be the biggest bitch in the Oaks but she will have the biggest cheers. You might remember I was the mad man in the stand, blowing the whistle every time All Aboard was going to slips, well you can expect more of the same! Our fan base is getting bigger and bigger and whether I’m right or wrong there will definitely be a bus leaving Dunmanway on Monday morning for Powerstown Park, we’re going to rock Clonmel and it will be starting on Friday night”!
View the photos here: http://yvonneharrington.smugmug.com/Other-2/GLANWORTH/46144263_bjpH3s#!i=3741025558&k=b7tgbSP



Lixnaw Oaks Trial Stake: TOBAR NA MOLT

Luck of the draw is Best policy for Tobar Na Molt

Listowel Coursing Club, last year promised a 2015 Oaks contender for the winner of their fundraising raffle during the Clonmel Coursing festival and having found a most appropriate home with competent new handlers, Tobar Na Molt (Mafi Magic/Newinn All In) delivered on that promise in her first public appearance for owner trainer Jonathan Best of Ardfert in a highly impressive Oaks Trial Stake victory at Lixnaw last weekend.

To win the draw can be considered lucky enough by itself but Tobar Na Molt has brought a change of luck for the Best kennels since her arrival because although enjoying success on the All Age scene in recent years the kennels had no Trial Stake victory to boast until this season and now have two, albeit a reserve ticket at Ballyheigue through Not My Pick (Kingsmill Dynamo/Bower Sign) who Jonathan owns with John Saunders.

“We would be kind of half and half here but it would be coursing in the heart and track in the head. We would keep two for coursing every year but after winning the draw we have an odd number for this season.”

On Tobar Na Molt he describes her saying “She’s 81lb weight, a well made big bitch. Ah she’s a good one alright. She was late coming out because she was in season and she was not over done for the weekend really, she’s only fourteen weeks gone at this stage. I actually had every intention of withdrawing her after two rounds if she wasn`t herself on Sunday. She would be barking at the kennel door every morning and I said if she’s not barking Sunday, she’s not going back but she was in great form, so when she barked I said you`re going coursing”!

“She’s in great form after it all too. She never has a cover on her during the day time but Gerry put one on her Monday and she was leaping around the kennel, she thought she going coursing again”!

He refers to good friend Gerry Hannafin and thanks him greatly for all his help saying “myself and Gerry would be stuck in everything together, when it comes to the dogs I’d look up to him in fairness. You may thank Michael Collins for me too, he’s like a small spanner, right handy to have around”!

“I was impressed with her on the hill in Lixnaw, she was closing out her courses well on the rising ground. The closest call was in the quarter-final against Somelittlelady, that was a good buckle to the bottom of the hill but she pulled out about a length and a half after that. You`d have to say that she will take to the hill in Powerstown like a duck to water. We are delighted we don`t have to pay going into Clonmel this year. She won`t be out again now, i`m off to stock up on the Johnson & Johnson cotton wool and she`ll be wrapped up until we drive in the Lodge Gate”.

Jonathan was keen to mention Donal Regan and son Padraig of Joyful Tidings fame saying “I was only twelve when he won the Derby but I remember it well. They taught me plenty of tricks of the trade growing up and I’m grateful to them for it all. I have to say too that Derek Galvin in Listowel had the bitch in smashing order when we went to collect her. He had been rearing her since before the raffle I think and done some job on her.”

“She’ll have plenty of support down there too, sure the day we went to collect her we had two bales of straw in the back of the van and ten bodies. We knew well what we were at but we got her home at some stage the next day after a right old sing song with Michael Shine keeping the thing going until 3 or 4 in the morning and I can remember saying that if she won the members stake, that would be enough”!

Asked about her naming he explains, “there is a sign about two miles up the road from the kennels with Tobar Na Molt on it. She gets her four mile walk every morning which takes her up to the sign and I said, you’re going to be seeing that every day so you can be called after it. It means Weathers Well in English.”

Here’s hoping that Tobar Na Molt and all her connections do in fact “weather well” between now and Clonmel 2015!




Bandon Oaks Trial Stake: MANNTAN MAPLE

Maple a sweet success for Pat in Bandon Oaks TS
Classic tickets for Powerstown Park can prove perennially elusive for many hard working kennels and so it proved for the Hore family in Wexford Town as generation after generation the dream of a Clonmel runner continued to be postponed until Manntan Maple (Mafi Magic/Class Attraction) scored a most deserved victory in the Oaks Trial Stake at Bandon & Careys Cross on Thursday last.
Owned by Pat Hore with his son Keith she confirmed the promise shown in her sole previous outing when reaching the final at Edenderry early in the season and brings sheer delight to her many extended connections with Pat exclaiming “i`ve been a professional dog walker since I was about ten years old, walking dogs for my dad or my brothers but we have never had a trial stake winner. I tell you this has brought unbelievable pleasure to us, it’s an absolute dream come true, it might never happen again and we are going to enjoy this all the way to Clonmel so she is not for sale” he laughs.
“Frank Hore was my dad, he has passed away now. I also lost a brother Donal and this win is for all of us. I`ve got so many text messages from people who know the effort that has gone into the dogs down the years and I can`t say how grateful I am to all of them”.
Speaking with Pat is clearly evident how much this win means but what also comes through is a complete adoration for the sport of coursing and if ever feeling down or disillusioned with your lot, a call to Pat Hore is prescribed to lift the spirits as he explains, “This sport is unreal, I’m doing this with my son Keith now and you can see how good the sport is for young people. It teaches discipline, commitment and team work. It keeps families and communities together. It developes young people and teaches essential lessons needed in this day and age. It breaks my heart to hear negative comments about this sport and we should be pushing all these good points more aggressively both in your paper and every other chance we get. I`ve seen my son grow as a man within this game and I hope i`ll be doing the same with my grand-children. Nowhere will you find better people than in coursing”.
“Speaking of great people, you better give a big mention to Robert Fox in Ballylanders. He rears nearly all our dogs for us and he did some job on this one”.
“I knew the first time in saw her galloping up Edenderry we had a right one. She was like poetry in motion. Maybe in hindsight Edenderry was a bit too soon for her, I don’t really know but i`d say we haven’t seen the best of her yet. I doubt even that Bandon was totally ideal for her either. There’s a fair old climb in it and I think i`d prefer her stretching out on the flat for a couple of hundred yards and then fly up a hill but I do think this one could be exceptional”!
“I have so many people to thank but Michael O`Donovan has realised a dream for us and I can’t say enough good about him. He’s a man of few words but I suspect her quite likes her”!
“I am so grateful to Con Guiney also. I`d say I started annoying him for a pup over four years ago. When I saw in the Sporting Press then that she was mated, that was it, I scurged him into selling me a pup, I was non stop ringing him. We were blessed to get her”!
He refers of course to dam Class Attraction who thrilled the coursing community for four wonderful seasons, winning her Trial Stake at Johnstown & Urlingford before six All Aged Bitch victories in three seasons and a career defining win in the 2011 Champion Bitch Stake at Clonmel. This is her first litter which also includes the Ardpatrick & Kilfinane Reserve Oaks winner Blizzard Maria along with some other promising pups.
Although this is a first classic qualifier for the Hore family, they have not been totally devoid of classic success in the past as Pats brother Harry owned Ballyshannon May who bred 2003 Derby winner Danaghers Best and hopefully that breeding achievement can bode well now finally entering Clonmel in competitive mode where Pat is determined to continue the celebrations.
“Ah i`ve had a jar or two alright and there was even bottles of champagne opened in the local for us but we had a couple with the Bandon crowd too. I asked the treasurer where to pull in and sure we had a right craic, they are a great crew. You`d swear they reared us, some craic”!



Enniscorthy Derby Trial Stake: ASHWOOD ALONSO

Alonso a welcome tonic for John at Enniscorthy
Relief was the over-riding emotion expressed by John Doyle of Gorey following the impressive victory of his Ashwood Alonso (Adios Alonso/Ashwood Dee) in the Derby Trial Stake at Enniscorthy as it brought a much needed change of luck for a hard working kennels after an unfortunate start to the season.
Bred by John, this is dam Ashwood Dee’s second litter and she previously produced Pocketrocketben and Ashwood James from her 2011 mating to Kyle James. A Trial Stake winner at Cork, the former reached the semi-final of the 2013 Irish Cup as a pup and backed up that performance with a Cup win at Killimer & Kilrush last season. It was planned that he would contest another all aged campaign this season but a serious injury will now prevent that happening.
Ashwood James, beaten in two All Age Cup finals last year, did get his season under way in 2014 but sadly suffered a career ending injury when winning the semi-final of the Urbs Intacta Cup at Waterford last month in a truly horrific season start for connections. “I’m relieved to tell you the truth, it was a rough start. They were two nice cup dogs to be traveling with and to lose both of them so quickly was a big blow” exclaims John.
Referring to Ashwood Alonso and the Enniscorthy win he says “We are delighted with this fellow though and he has given us a great lift. I knew he was well able to gallop but having pace and winning a Trial Stake are two different things so i`m just relieved that he got it done”!
“He’s a placid type of dog, in around 95lbs and he was coming away well in all his courses, there would be early pace in the line but he was led in his quarter final and looked in a bit of trouble for a while. He showed nice middle pace though and ran on well again. The semi-final was a brilliant course against Carlsbush Mafi and honestly the flag could have gone either way, i`d have to say that the collar won it for him. He`s a very good dog and you would have to think he`ll pick one up another day. I have to say Declan Delaney & Phil Meaney were very gracious in defeat, absolute gentlemen and Phil joked with me saying “that breed of yours is tough out, they never know when they`re beat”!
John was all praise too for his trainer Declan Byrne saying “I can`t say enough about how grateful I am to Declan, he`s a quiet fellow and doesn`t blow his own trumpet enough. He is absolutely class, he only got this fellow on the 6th of September and has done a wonderful job with him. I had a comrade run up the Reserve Oaks at Carlow, Ashwood Brook and she’s gone to him now too along with another bitch who will appear soon, Ashwood Budgie.”
This win continues the impressive start to Ashwood Dee’s breeding career which John feared was in serious trouble when giving birth to her next litter which did not go smoothly. He credits former Offaly hurler Shane McGuckian and wife Lindy for saving his pride and joy after running into complications and now has three dogs and one bitch by Johnny Casanova to look forward to for next year. Ashwood Dee ran up a Trial Stake at Sevenhouses in her puppy season but went on to win an All Age at Regional in her second season before a wonderful third season saw her top the Champion Stakes points list for Clonmel 2011.
Winning at Enniscorthy was a special victory for John as not only was he claiming a Powerstown ticket on the very lands where his grandmother Mary Codd grew up but he also watched his son, John Doyle Jnr continue his apprenticeship as a slipper in the duffer stakes at the meeting. Young John made his debut at Clonmel & Kilsheelin this season where the Doyle family were very proud to see him slip throughout a stake for the Frank Byrne Cup in memory of Declan Byrne’s father. John Jnr will complete his opening season as a slipper at Gorey in two weeks time.
John will be hopeful that Ashwood Alonso can better his best previous Clonmel showing when Pocketrocketben raised one flag in the 2013 Derby before leading Thomas The Tank to the bottom of the hill in round two and although he claims not to be a betting man may again have a small financial interest as he did last weekend. “I don’t back them but I did have a very small bet at 5-1 just in case he won so that I had the price of a round of drinks on the way home”!



Balbriggan Derby Trial Stake: NOT CAUGHT YET

No catching Magaret & Moira in Balbriggan Derby Trial Stake
Not Caught Yet (Central City/Moat Lady) returned a highly impressive victory in last weekend’s Balbriggan Derby Trial Stake and with it claims a coveted place in the Powerstown classic for life long friends Margaret Holland & Moira Roche, two Limerick ladies with rich coursing pedigrees.
Margaret is daughter to Pat Holland, former deputy chief executive of Bord Na Gcon and explains how her friendship with Moira developed from a young age through their dad’s alliance saying “my dad was great friends with Ned Roche all down the years and that’s how I got to know Moira. We would travel over to the Waterloo Cup every year from about ten or eleven years of age. My dad had a nomination and actually won it `82 with Play Solo, myself and Moira were going since `87. I don`t think Moira missed a Waterloo Cup after that. I was in America for a few years and missed some but I had to travel over from Florida for the last one in 2005”.
The girls have renewed the family association on the coursing field this season as Margaret explains “I’m working in Dublin now and haven’t had a dog for a good few years but Moira gave me a half share in this fellow for my birthday present this year and now says i`m the lucky charm for her”.
This was Not Caught Yet’s second outing of the season and he was only narrowly defeated in a close round one buckle to eventual winner, Tullamoy Master, at Dungannon before his Balbriggan win. On the victory, Margaret was very pleased with Not Caught Yet saying “they are so hard to win and there is so many variables that have to go your way, we are absolutely on cloud nine this week. He is with Davy Reynoulds and he has done a great job on him”.
“He ran very well in every course but we did get a real scare after the turn in the semi-final when he got quite a bit of hunting after a shortish slip. He was 1-2 before that and went out to 1-1 before the final so it really looked like he was up against it. Thank god he was quick away in the final and went a couple of lengths up because Maxi’s dog was closing on him but he just had enough in the tank”.
She refers of course to the runner-up, Blueview Silver for Maxi Collins and remarks “I feel for him because we got plenty of work in the final too, about ten or twelve turns. It was hard on both of them but at least we have our ticket, you would have to feel for them and I hope he recovers quickly”.
“It wasn’t exactly ideal for our fellow either but Davy had him in great shape and tells me that he is very good after it and you would hardly know he was out”!
Not Caught Yet is the second of dam Moat Lady’s highly promising debut litter to qualify for the Derby following the victory of Somelittlelord in the Glin equivalent where another comrade, Somelittlelady reached the Oaks Trial Stake semi-final. Moat Lady began her own career reaching the final of Fermoy’s Oaks Trial Stake on debut in 2011 but was forced to withdraw. She had however shown enough on that occasion to impress the shrewd Moira Roche who purchased a half share from Denis Fielding.
She failed to qualify for the Oaks that season but more than compensated her new owner when claiming two All Aged Bitch Stakes in the following season before a semi-final defeat to outright winner, Bossa Nova Babe in the 2012 Champion Bitch Stake at Clonmel. Moira also has a bitch for this season from the litter, Bristol Lady and she too has shown promise this season, raising two flags at Castleisland before a narrow defeat at semi-final stage in Ratkeale last weekend.
Margaret will be hoping that she can indeed prove to be a lucky charm for Moira this year and improve her own Powerstown record at the same time, explaining that “back through the years my dad had either six or seven qualifiers for Clonmel. The last was Our Star in `91 but we never got past the first round, so i`m really hoping he will improve that record for us at least”.


Ardpatrick Derby Trial Stake: GALTEE BOY

Galtee boys on tour claim Ardpatrick Derby ticket
The victory of Galtee Boy (Mafi Magic/Marwood Babe) in the Ardpatrick & Kilfinane Derby Trial Stake showed a very pleasing progression from his promising runner-up performance at Fermoy to inspire great celebrations for a hard working syndicate of Galbally Coursing Club members and with it ensures that there will hardly be a sinner left in Galbally come the first weekend of February 2015.
The Galbally Syndicate is headed by Padjoe Casey and he explains “there is officially fourteen of us in the syndicate but you could add a few more with all the supporters. We are over the moon, we just can`t believe we won it. We are all members of Galbally Coursing Club, either catching hares or working on the field and most of them never even owned a dog before. They are people that have just worked for the club over the years and their families before them, just brilliant people for the club. We are lucky to have them and now we have a qualifier, just brilliant”!
Padjoe has had a Clonmel runner previously when his Seasons Beauty raised one flag in the 1986 Oaks but for most of the syndicate this is a first ever runner, let alone a classic contender at Clonmel. “I think there is only myself, John Fraser and Willie Valance that have had dogs before and it was Willie that picked out this fellow when we went to buy him from Pat Treacy who is involved with the Ardpatrick Club, so that worked out well”!
This was Galtee Boy’s second outing of the season following a very forward showing when just losing out in the final at Fermoy to Macroney Rebel (Kyle James/Cumbawn Ellen) and Padjoe could just about live with that defeat as the winner was bred by good friends and neighbours Brian Sheehan & Donal Keating.
“We were disappointed in Fermoy alright but we took it on the chin. In fairness, we were happy enough coming away because we knew then that at least we had a dog good enough. Brian and Donie are close neighbours of mine and i`m delighted for them with the year they are having, especially with the brood bitch, more good Galbally men”!
Describing the Ardpatrick win Padjoe says “he was showing very good early pace in all the rounds and he won it well in fairness. The semi-final against Crafty Enzo was the closest I remember but he had enough in hand to turn the hare first thank god and went on to win the final well”.
“All the syndicate was there bar one lad, John Fraser who was in Spain. He had it booked and sure he had to go but he was on the phone the whole time getting the live commentary and was even part of the cheer for the final, over the phone! He was due home on Sunday night and couldn`t wait to get on the plane.”
Bred by David Morris, this is Marwood Babe’s second litter and she was herself a Trial Stake winner at Wexford but did not contest the 2009 Oaks. She threw a Trial Stake winner in her first litter through Shilling Alonso at Enniscorthy before running up the Keen Laddie Stakes at Clonmel. This current qualifier is trained by John Browne near Kilmallock and Padjoe could not express his gratitude enough exclaiming “He has done a great job with him. He told us early on that he was well able to gallop and that we had a chance! The whole family are a great crew and offer big support all the time. They are real coursing people, we can`t thank them enough”.
John Browne was of course responsible for the biggest cheers throughout the 2014 Derby with Vale View Flyer who was also owned by a large vocal syndicate and I put it to Padjoe that the onus will now be on the Galbally Syndicate to take up that mantle in 2015, “sure between ourselves, Donie Keating and Brian Sheehan the whole of Galbally will be in Powerstown, there`ll be plenty of cheers alright”!

View the photos here: http://yvonneharrington.smugmug.com/Other-2/ARDPATRICK/45760041_3XvdDK#!i=3707408722&k=LHzcfrn



Ballyduff Oaks Trial Stake: AVAS SWEETHEART

Ava puts her foot down for Ballyduff Oaks success
Young Ava Lyons of Linaw Co.Kerry has, at the tender age of just seven years old, developed the Powerstown bug having had her first taste of Clonmel success last season and will return in 2015 with Ballyduff Oaks Trial Stake winner Avas Sweetheart (Captain Dru/Big Miss Muffit) having firmly put dad Paudie in his place when he was determined to pick her brother instead!
Paudie and Ava teamed up successfully last season when their Turning Pace was a highly impressive winner of the Kitty Butler Stake at the National Meeting and Ava just had to have another bitch for this season. “We had a great run last season but Ava was giving out that we had nothing for next year so we had to go and get something. There was a dog and a bitch available when we went to buy them and I took a shine to the dog” explains Paudie. “I said to Ava, sure I think we`ll take the dog but she nearly started crying and insisted on the bitch. She picked Turning Pace too so my mind was made up for me, she wouldn’t take no for an answer”!
Avas Sweetheart was having her fifth outing of the season and was beaten by either a winner or a runner-up in her previous appearances with her deepest run being the sem-final of Mallow’s reserve. “She was a little bit backward in the early season really, she was getting things wrong in slips mostly. It just took her a while to really sharpen up but I wasn’t overly concerned because I knew she had plenty of pace”.
Paudie had a busy weekend and was not actually in attendance at Ballyduff until twenty minutes before the final as he was in Clonmel & Kilsheelan where his Wicked Monk progressed to the quarter final of the Derby Trial Stake. “Fair play to Mark Ryall & Timmy Carmody, they were looking after the bitch in Ballyduff for me but I got beat on Sunday morning with the dog so I just made it on time for the final”.
He describes Avas Sweetheart saying “she’s not over big, about 68lbs but she’s strong and a compact galloper. I only saw the final but even Berkie Browne said to me that she’s a real sticky type, jealous almost. She seemed to come away well in the final and they were racing a bit apart but it looked like she got behind in the middle. She came again at the top though and you would have to say that the further it goes, the more she will like it. She’s in great form after it too, we’re very happy with her”!
“I’m delighted for the Sheeran`s too, they took a chance with Captain Dru and it’s great to see it paying off for them. I remember him well and always thought he was a very fast dog. Killian rang me on Sunday night to congratulate me, that was very nice of him”.
This is the first Powerstown qualifier for both sire and dam but this is only Captain Dru’s second litter and this winner comes just two weeks after Pauna Pronto scored an impressive All Aged Bitch victory at Limerick City from his first mating with Have We Six. Avas Sweetheart has plenty to recommend her on the dam’s side also as Big Miss Muffit is a daughter of 2004 Oaks winner Callura Spice.
Avas Sweetheart is the third Trial Stake winner for the Lyon’s kennels as along with Turning Pace, they also qualified Wiseguy Paddy who could not take his place in last season’s Derby through injury. Her young owner has been on catching duty all season but missed this Ballyduff victory as the lure of Disneyland Paris was too much to resist explains Paudie “you can believe it, she is coursing nuts but sure Disneyland for a seven year old will win every time. She will be on catching duty again when she gets back. She was too young to catch in Powerstown last year but will definitely be doing it this year”!

Nenagh Derby Trial Stake: CRUSHERS OAK

Crusher claims golden ticket for David at Nenagh

The victory of Crushers Oak (Adios Alonso/Skellig Wave) in Nenagh`s Derby Trial Stake was greeted with loud cheers from passionate owner David O`Sullivan of Clonmel. This reaction and David’s joyous manner in the aftermath of a highly impressive win was not for the bookies money due to him but from an ever burning desire to win what he describes as the “Golden Ticket”.

“I had a good touch on him alright and it’s nice to catch the bookies an odd time but what I really want is that ticket, I describe it like the Willy Wonka tickets, remember the Golden Tickets?”

“I travel thousands of miles around the country, trying to win a ticket to go back home”, he quips “Sure you can hear the loudspeakers in Clonmel from my house”.

David has enjoyed his share of success in Trial Stakes in recent seasons and has had runners in Powerstown in 2009 with Crushers Paddy, 2010 with Crushers Highland and Crushers Mania in 2013 which was trained by Gerry Holian who handles this current Derby contender. David also won the Oaks Trial Stake at Nenagh twelve months ago with his first ever runner at the meeting, Crushers Babe, so now has a one hundred percent record to defend and promises to be back for the hat-trick attempt next year.

Knowing that yours truly is a Nenagh member he jokes “I want an invitation, not an entry for next year, you can book me in now, I’ll be back to try do the three in a row”

David was full of praise for the Nenagh Club saying “you won’t see a better set up anywhere, even if I hadn’t won last year I would have been back again and anyone that was with me all said the same, I can’t thank them enough”.

His thanks also extends to the O`Driscoll family in Cork with whom he has a close relationship and bears the utmost respect for. “Only for the O`Driscoll’s sure I don’t know where I’d be, they are very good to me. Sure every dog I own is off their lines but long story short Tim put the pressure on me with this mating. He said to me one day, you can pick the stud dog for Skellig Wave so myself and Jimmy O`Sullivan studied everything and came up with Adios Alonso, thank god it was justified now anyway”.

“I got the pick of the litter then and Johnny Mulcahy picked out this fellow, fair play to him. Johnny reared him then, sure Johnny does everything with my dogs, he’s the main man, I’m only the boy”!

“He’s here with me now, we’re watching the coursing. I have it hooked up to the big screen it’s the business. I watched it this morning at 2 am and again at 7 am, I’ve watched it about ten times at this stage just to make sure he did actually win it”!

“That Michael McNamara is some man on the camera. What he’s doing for coursing is fantastic. I’m able to sit here at home and watch it all over again. I wouldn’t dare ask him if he was going to Nenagh but I was delighted to see him there so make sure and give him a mention for me, it’s much appreciated”.

David reports Crushers Oak in good form following the win and like many in attendance suspects that this Trial Stake may have been above average but reserved special mention for the runner-up saying “it was a bit of an odd situation I suppose for Gerry to have two in the final, it never happened him before he was telling me but the runner-up does look a very good dog and I said as much to connections after, he’ll surely win one”

David has not raised more than one flag in a classic with his previous Powerstown runners but celebrated every flag raised as if it was a classic win and promises to do the same again, so he will be hopeful that Crushers Oak can provide a deeper Clonmel run this time.

“I`m off to London in the morning (Tuesday) and I won`t be back until Saturday so if anyone knows where I can get a copy of this week’s Sporting Press anywhere in London, I would appreciate it if they got in touch”!



Listowel Oaks Trial Stake: CREE GAISCE

Gaisce the toast of Listowel for Tara & Dinny

Tara McCarthy of Cree Co.Clare inspired great celebrations with the victory of her Cree Gaisce (Kyle James/Gaisce Mor) in Listowel’s Oaks Trial Stake last weekend in just her second outing of the season and is expected to improve greatly before her Clonmel challenge for connections with a deep coursing pedigree.

Tara’s bookmaking dad, Dinny Gould, will be well known to the entire coursing community and while standing at his pitch in Limerick Greyhound Stadium for the Irish St Leger on Saturday last, he could be heard predicting the impending Listowel success as this meticulous student of form had been very impressed with Cree Gaisce`s opening round wins over what he knew to be strong opposition.

“I knew the bitch we beat in round one was very decent, she went up well in Abbeydorney so I was delighted to get over that one but the bitch we met in the second round was very well backed and both of them are good bitches, I would not be a bit surprised if they win Trial Stakes”.

“I was confident after getting over them that we could win it. Our girl was getting better in every round and improving her clocks. The whole breed would be that way and she looks the very same. She runs the top of the field very well. She can only get better because she is actually not long out of her pupping time so there should be lots left for Powerstown, I think we’ll have a live chance in the Oaks”.

“Tara was involved with Turbo Julie with us last year so she has this bitch and hopefully she can go further for her this time. We got caps printed for Powerstown last year and we`ll doing the same for this one. We had awful celebrations in Eamon Carroll’s pub in Listowel before we got the boat home, he’s a great sportsman, it was mighty craic”.

“Pat O`Connor trains her near Tarbert and he has done a great job. He rang me at 10 am Monday morning and said she’s jumping out of her skin, she could go again”!

“I only had to pay out one small bet on her so that was a bonus too but honestly I would not have minded paying out more just to see her win”.

Dinny was all praise too for the efforts and investment made by Listowel Coursing Club over the past few years claiming “they have some set up, you can drive in and out with no trouble and up into the stand. You could wear your new shoes into that field and come home clean, make sure and thank them for me”.

Cree Gaisce is certainly bred in the purple and dam Gaisce Mor was withdrawn from the semi-final of the 2012 Kitty Butler Stake following a Trial Stake win at Killimer & Kilrush but later registered a brilliant victory in the Select All Age Bitch Stake at the 2012 Irish Cup meeting. This current litter had already produced the Loughrea Derby Trial Stake runner-up, Centenarius, so expect more good performances in the coming months. Dinny also owns Cree Gaisce`s comrade Cree Mor in syndicate with good friends Noel Hehir and Thomas O`Doherty from the famous O`Doherty family that owned 1969 Irish Derby winner Owen Pride. He is due to make his debut at Killimer & Kilrush in two weeks time and will no doubt merit much respect in light of this Listowel win.

The Gould family`s best Powerstown performance was of course in part ownership of 2006 Champion Stakes winner Boavista and Dinny has more than a quiet fancy that Cree Gaisce has the capability to create more memories for daughter Tara and family in 2015.


Charleville Oaks Trial Stake: LEIGH SNOWIE

Third time a charm in Snowie Charleville Oaks
The victory of Leigh Snowie on her third outing of the season in Charlevile’s Oaks Trial Stake sees Patrick O’Connor back on the classic trail and continues an impressive start to his brood Leigh Smokey`s breeding career for the Ballyduff kennels that has produced many strong Powerstown runners.
Leigh Smokey was an All Age Bitch stake winner at Patrick’s home meeting in Ballyduff and in her first litter produced the brilliant Kyle Leigh, considered by many to be the unlucky dog of the 2013 Derby when eliminated at semi-final stage. He was the fourth Derby semi-finalist that Patrick bred as his grand-dam, Leigh Shadow threw both Sound Pistol and Brazing Serpent, so this current Charleville Trial Stake winner certainly has the breeding credentials for a competitive Oaks challenge.
Patrick clearly likes Leigh Snowie explaining “she won two rounds in Kilflynn but she was just a small bit sore after them. I might have chanced it if it was a two day meeting but I was being very careful because I knew she was handy so I withdrew her”.
“She got caught out then in the second round at Abbeydorney, I don’t like making excuses but I don’t think she was fully on her hare that time, a bit like the first round in Charleville. She got a bit of a scare there, she was in front and fair play, the other bitch came to her very quickly but my one must have been off it for a while because she went on again at the top thank god, it was plain sailing after that really, she didn’t get any more real scares”.
“I`ve never weighed her but she’s about 72lbs, a beautiful looking animal, she`s snow white. She’s a very forward type, she nearly always does things right for you. I think she’ll go up the hill in Clonmel too, she was stretching away on the rising ground in Charleville in every course”.
Patrick also reports good feedback from those who purchased from the litter and suspects that Leigh Snowie may not be the only classic qualifier. Leigh Smokey’s next litter is proving popular too with just one bitch remaining for sale from 4 dogs and 4 bitches in a mating to Wallace Green.
“I gave fifty years farming altogether but i`m retired from it now but i`m kept busy with the dogs”.
Patrick was in fact very busy when receiving my call as he was whelping down a litter by Ballymac Vic out of his well related, unraced track bitch Leigh Fancy.
“Ah she was surely a fast bitch but she never raced for me. She goes back to Wise Plan and is a sister of Chris Houlihan`s great bitch, Cashen Maureen. There is 3 dogs and 3 bitches at the moment but I think she might be finished at that, I better go out and have another look shortly, sure it`s all go”.
Patrick has three coursing brood bitches in the kennels. Leigh Smokey, Leigh Musical and Leigh Countess who returned his best Clonmel performance to date when raising two flags in the 2011 Oaks but recalls his deepest Powerstown run, coming as a catcher for his uncle Pats O’Connell who trained the track bred Track Reject to reach the 1970 Oaks semi-final before falling victim to the Prendeville family’s Oaks dividing heroics.
He will be hoping to provide similar memories for his young neighbour and helper Jamie Allen who was on catching duty for Leigh Snowie in Charleville saying “Jamie has been the main man with this bitch all along, he`s a right good young lad and a great help to me. This was his first time catching a Trial Stake winner, I was delighted for him. We need all the young people we can get. I was secretary in my own club, Ballyduff, for a long time but you have to step back and leave the younger fellas at it, we need every one of them”.

Freshford Oaks Trial Stake: BATTSTREET JUDY

Judy tunes in for game Freshford Oaks victory
The victory of Battstreet Judy in the Freshford Oaks Trial Stake on Friday last provided Eugene McCabe of Wexford with his third Powerstown qualifier which is quite an impressive achievement for her owner/trainer who keeps just one coursing pup each year and claims that she “wasn’t fully tuned in going there and was short a bit of work”.
Never favourite on the bookies boards she continually defied the odds and surprised Eugene somewhat when beating some fancied runners. The respect for his opponents was clearly obvious throughout our conversation and he suspects that this Trial Stake may throw up many future winners.
“With the ground being hard I hadn’t all that much done with her and I would have liked a few more gallops into her. She got beaten in the first round at Crohane and hadn’t really got her head down behind the hare, just not fully tuned in” he explains.
“I was impressed with Droopys Marina, she was well fancied and looks a good bitch so I kinda knew it was game on when we beat her in the second round but I could still see 10/1 on Teddy`s board Friday morning, it`s a pity I wasn’t really in a gambling mood because she was still 6/1 before the semi-final. She was in great form before the quarter final and you could see in slips that she had fully tuned in after the first day, she started to line her hare very well too”.
“I wouldn’t be too bothered about the clocks really because she will improve a lot for this and I think I have a nice bitch for the Oaks, when you look at the names in the stake and there was a good few of them well fancied, I’d say it was good form alright. She has good early and any that came to challenge her, she responded very well at the top of the field, you would nearly say she was jealous and wouldn’t let them pass”.
“I like to run in Freshford, I know Tom Beckett well and he used to always tell me I could get one in. I won a reserve there two years ago with Battstreet Lil so it`s a good field for me”.
“I bought her from my cousins John & Aidan Roche who bred the litter. I only keep one coursing pup every year and the only other dog I have at the moment is a track bitch but I ran her in a duffer in Crohane and she got injured on me which means I have nothing now for the members stake in Wexford, i`m on the look out again” he exclaims.
“I`ll give her a rest for now and I’ll probably be looking at the puppy stakes in Old Kilcullen or Abbeyfeale for the next outing but I have a nomination for the Wexford All Age so that could be an option too, the field might suit her”.
Eugene had plenty of success when breeding himself some years ago but one particular mating from 1999 has already had a very interesting influence on this season’s coursing campaign. Eugene`s Battstreet Linda was a prolific dam who threw many top class runners including Pinewood Blue who reached the English Derby semi-final in 2001 and later threw two track record breakers from a 1999 mating to Roanokee, a litter that included the bitch Its Awesome who is the grand-dam of Crohane & Killenaule Oaks Trial Stake winner Rideout Belle where Eugene lost out in round one with his current Freshford winner.
Asked about the Battstreet prefix he says “we’d be from the country originally, Adamstown but when we first moved into Wexford Town years back there was a plaque at the corner of the small street with Battstreet on it and me father named one after it, sure i`d be soft that way then so I kept it going, it has been lucky for us”.

Mallow Derby Trial Stake: GALBALLY ECHO

Echoes of Galbally in Mallow Derby Trial Stake
A busy weekend for the kennels of Donal Keating in Ballylanders Co.Limerick returned an impressive Derby Trial Stake winner when Galbally Echo claim his place at Powerstown Park and continues the impressive start to the season for dam Cumbawn Ellen.
Taking my call on Monday evening, Donal was not long home from Castleisland coursing meeting where he just failed to register his second Derby Trial Stake win of the weekend with another of his litter by Kyle James but was happy to take me back to Mallow where Galbally Echo won his courses with smart early pace.
“He`s somewhere between 86 and 88lbs, a nice dog. He`s very good away and he`s a good dog behind his hare.” Hitting the front early in his courses, Donal does not recall any real scare throughout the stake but did admit to being a little relieved when caught behind a winding hare in his second round.
“The hare turned right over to the far side near the wire, lucky he has great eye or he could have got caught out there. Thank god it was a strong hare, she was getting away from them with every turn. He got a bit of work in that course alright but it could have been worse”.
He reports Galbally Echo in good form after the victory saying, “he`s dancing today, I don`t know if i`ll get him out before Clonmel, I might and I might not. Maybe his next day out will be a trial in Powerstown, i`m not pushed either way.”
This is a second Trial Stake winner for the litter as Macroney Rebel also claimed a Derby ticket for Laurence & Fergus Flynn at Fermoy and there is more encouraging signs for this current crop as Small Bit Bright who raised two flags in the Bitch Trial Stake at Fermoy went on to land the Inter Club Stake at Charleville for Pat Martin last weekend, all before Donal ran up the Derby Trial Stake at Castleisland with Oilill Olum. Donal jointly owns dam Cumbawn Ellen with Brian Sheehan and this talented litter comes as no surprise being a litter sister to prolific winning bitch Dunsilly. Ellen herself was a Trial Stake winner at Sevenhouses in 2011 before adding an All Age Bitch victory at Clonmel & Kilsheelin the following season.
“It`s like this now, they`re all showing something the first day out, sure you`d have to like them and they`re April pups so you have think they can improve more”.
A very likely improver is Donal`s Castleisland runner-up Oilill Olum who he claims was “only really out for the run”!
“He`s about 110lbs weight, sure he`d have to come on a lot for that although he`s a bit sore after it I think but at his size you`d expect that. I`ll have to rest him for a few weeks now but he`ll be back when theres a better cut in the ground, that will suit him better”.
Gracious in defeat, Donal had only kind words for his Castleisland conqueror Michael Field. “I know he beat me but still, I was delighted for Michael. I`ve always had great respect for the Field`s, sure only for people like them we`d have no sport. The dam is due to break again in the middle of next month and I might go back to Kyle James again, sure I can`t see any reason not to”.
Donal also has a bitch from the litter, Cullane Ellen, who is just out of her season and can be expected to make her first appearance in a few weeks time, where will merit plenty of respect on the evidence of her comrades and most particularly Galbally Echo!


Thurles Oaks Trial Stake: VIENNA CALLING

Vienna Calls the tune in Thurles Oaks Trial Stake

Owned by John Troy & Michael Murphy, Vienna Calling defied the bookmakers odds and her somewhat short preparations to gamely claim the Oaks ticket at Thurles last weekend but with it books a place in the Troy Electrical Champion Puppy Stake where she will bid to retain the sponsorship money for her generous owners.

John who lives on the Curragh owns and trains his dogs with brother Alan, who he concedes is also part owner of Vienna Calling, are the sponsors of the Old Kilcullen puppy event which has grown in stature since its inception in 2005 and having come close to winning the stake in the past he explains that this will be the obvious next outing for his Oaks qualifier.

“We ran-up the puppy stake in 2005 with Ridgemount Maudy and again in 2006 with Ridgemount Hank. It`s a great stake and sure when they had no sponsor for 2008 we took it over”.

“We are all members of Old Kilcullen, so we`re very proud of the puppy stake and the club, i`d love to win it so she`ll have to go there”.

This is not the Troy`s only sponsorship as they still sponsor the Working Members Stake at Ballinagar where they were active for many years when resident in North Offaly and John recalls his time there working with and owning dogs with Ned Spain of Kilcormack.

 “We spent many years with Ned, he had some great dogs both track and field, I think I was part of four Trial Stake winners there in all but I remember Stewards Enquiry was some dog. He won a puppy stake in Nenagh after his Trial Stake. I think it was 1990 and I could be mistaken but I reckon that was the first ever stake like it for Clonmel qualifiers”. Not hard to see where John`s affection for the Puppy Stake stemmed from in light of this exchange!

John readily admits however that training plaudits for Vienna Calling go to joint owner Michael Murphy in Sallins. “We got wind that there was a dog and bitch available so Michael got on to Billy O`Toole who bred and reared them. Now he absolutely loves coursing bitches so he has the bitch in his place and me and Alan have the dog. There will plenty of pressure on him to get her ready for Old Kilcullen but i`ll have a bit myself now, trying to get the dog to win”.

On the Thurles victory John explains that Vienna Calling was not very far into full training and confidently expects her to improve between now and the Oaks. “She is not long after coming back from her season and we were more hopeful than expectant really. She`s a nice bitch, around 74lbs but was definitely not over trained for the weekend, we would have been happy to get a couple of rounds into her”.

“If there had been any sign of a problem on Sunday morning we wouldn’t have hesitated in withdrawing her but she was jumping so we decided to keep going and what`s more, she`s in great form today”!

“She was never favourite at any stage but that didn’t bother us really, she was doing all her best work from halfway. Now that probably means Old Kilcullen won`t be perfect for her but you`d have to think she will like it up Clonmel”.

John & Alan will have a busy season ahead and Vienna Calling`s comrade, Kasack Calling, by Adios Alonso out of 2007 Champion Bitch Stake winner Call Up holds an entry in Trim. There is two more pups by Razor Ashmore yet to appear while the kennels also retains runners for the track, most notably the impressive open racer Ridgemount Bart who won two heats of this years Irish Laurels at Cork, clocking 28.40 & 28.39 before finding traffic when eliminated at quarter final stage.

Asked about the naming of the bitch John laughs, “It`s got to do with the Eurovision and the voting, you know the way they deliver the votes?....anyway, I don`t know what kind of a dream Michael had but it was something to do with Eurovision and that`s where she got it”.

“There was plenty of singing done in Kilcullen Sunday night on the karaoke and there will be plenty more done in Powerstown too if she puts in a few rounds, we`ll have to come up with a Eurovision Classic”!

View the photos here http://yvonneharrington.smugmug.com/Other-2/THURLES/45225591_cFJmdR#!i=3641459327&k=SHTgbRW


 Liscannor Derby Trial Stake: ADVANTAGE

Kilflynn Oaks Trial Stake: INSLIPS ALL IN

View the photos here http://yvonneharrington.smugmug.com/Other-2/KILFLYNN/44627196_xCjdgg#!i=3571451181&k=Kqgxbgs

Oaks Trial Stake Glin: LOCHBO PEARL

View the photos here http://yvonneharrington.smugmug.com/Other-2/GLIN/44756733_nCxFhn#!i=3587024352&k=N8wspPc

Oaks Trial Stake Ennis/Clarecastle: MISS BUTTONS

Regional Derby Trial Stake: RATHFORT JAMES

View the photos here http://yvonneharrington.smugmug.com/Other-2/REGIONAL/44907496_hhp9QH#!i=3604725623&k=wg7VdbC

Loughrea Oaks Trial Stake: AVEIA

Cashel Derby Trial Stake: KINGCORMACK FAIRY

Watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vyGTVNdTKMk

View the photos here http://yvonneharrington.smugmug.com/Other-2/CASHEL/44889695_7Nmg5p#!i=3607852656&k=j2znF9w

Edenderry Derby Trial Stake: Game Mikey

View the photos here http://yvonneharrington.smugmug.com/Other-2/EDENDERRY/45093103_s7TtR4#!i=3629377720&k=FW94Hvx

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