Boylesports Derby 2016
Finally the scene is set for the greatest spectacle in the sporting calendar. Clonmel is the pinnacle of many a coursing supporter’s year with huge crowds expected to invade the town of Clonmel next Friday. Win or lose; the build-up and preparation for those lucky enough to qualify is surreal with an air of anticipation and nerves setting in during the coming week.
The Boylesports Derby is the main event with the sponsors adding more prizemoney for the centenary year. With 64 runners, I will try to concentrate on the more fancied dogs. The top dog out of the hat is Wallace Banner. A son of Danaghers Best –Wallace Court he impressed in County Kerry after a forward showing in Carlow. He seems to appreciate a stiff test so the field will play to his strengths. Being housed in the Matthews camp will only add to his chances and I’m sure connections will have been happy with the draw. Coolpeach Miller impressed in Waterford when winning his TS but 2 further runs have failed to bolster his form. Drive on Smokey has had a busy campaign with 5 outings. He finally got his head over the line in Milstreet but the season might catch up with him in the end. The next 2 dogs out of the hat have disappointed since their TS wins. Nemos Balto and Stonepark Rebel were beat convincingly in Abbeyfeale and will need to rediscover form to have any chance. Seriously Brave is a RTS winner who failed to progress past the 2 nd round of a full TS in Wexford. He seems out of his depth in this field. Newinn Whispers connections must be thrilled with the draw. From day one in Listowel, he became a talking dog and only just failed to peg back the speedy True North in the semi-final when money on for the TS. His next outing was Johnstown where he blew away the opposition. He seems to love the rising ground and with conditions to suit, I’ve a feeling he will go a long way in the Derby. His opponent Kilara Cuban will be no pushover who is seemingly improving with every outing. He first caught the eye in Glin where he was withdrawn in the 3 rd round. He reached the semis in New Ross and found Newinn Whisper (rematch in Clonmel) 2 lengths too quick in the 3 rd. In Cork at Christmas the TS was never in doubt with ICC clocks highlighting his advantage over the field. Whisper will need to be on his toes here but may be good enough to progress. The clash of the quarter is Howdododo v Coolavanny Bingo. Since winning his TS in Bandon Bingos reputation has grown. He seemed to love the rising ground and supposedly impressed in a trial recently. Howdododo won a competitive TS in Carlow and clocked well in Templetuohy. A cracker looks in store! Im from Rio and Coshair Oggie will also be a tight clash I feel. Rio won his TS in East Donegal and runners from there have all performed with credit in Clonmel. Oggie won his TS in Mooncoin after a few outings. He battled well in the quarter final to get up but I feel there may be more improvement in Rio who has had only 1 outing. Many coursing followers have highlighted how impressive Cuine Yet was in Cavan. He is bred in the purple, being by a Derby and Oaks winner and connections will have him spot on here. The final buckle in the quarter should see Octane Wonder progress. He was a talking dog after new connections paid a hefty price for him in Castleisland. He disappointed somewhat in Rathkeale and to me looked like a dog that prefers a handy field with his early pace. He was passed comfortably by Crafty there after being the good part of a length in front. All may not have been 100% there as he really shone in Abbeyfeale, clocking better than the Corn na Feile dogs. People have mixed opinions on the decision he got in the final but in a course with plenty of bumping, that course can be forgiven. He has serious early pace and stayed on much better in Abbeyfeale to indicate he will rattle this Derby. For people looking at quarter betting, this fella could represent value.
Kingsmill Jasper has had a busy campaign. To date he has ran 22 courses so will have an experience edge if nothing else. He has plenty of pace but I’m unsure if he will last the Clonmel hill 6 times judging by the number of near misses he had. He is not one I would like to meet early and should set up an exciting buckle in round 2 with Somelittlestar or Skellig Shane. Star impressed me in Mooncoin with his long stride and will love Clonmel .Connections have nibbled at his 33/1 price and is now 16/1 for outright success. If he has improved since Mooncoin, this fella could go close. His first round opponent looked a top prospect in Abbeyfeale but was beat rather easily by Kyle Mozart in the semi-final. He progressed nicely from there when winning in Clonakilty. This could be the course of the round. Out of the next 4 dogs, True North catches the eye. He won a top quality TS in Listowel and reports suggest he clocked as good as Timber House in a trial in Abbeyfeale. His dam breeds dogs for Clonmel and with his early pace to boot; this greyhound will be top of many peoples lists for top honours. Can he get that elusive first Derby winner for Michael O Donovan?
Crafty Toro is from that impressive litter <Adios Alonso-Crafty Pinero>. This dog won his TS in Freshford beating a strong field. Being a June whelp, he looks certain to improve and if doing so, won’t be far away. Cranorchard won in Regional and to my eye looked impressive. He disappointed in Johnstown but all was not well then with him. A recent trial has proven he is back to his best and will give connections a nice run I’m sure. Mr Orange was well fancied in his early outings and finally got his head over the line in Templetuohy. He is trained by Brendan Matthews and owned by a host of renowned coursing followers. Parlour Game is another dog trained by Michael O Donovan who looked very tough in Abbeyfeale. He is a sticky type of dog who is never easily defeated. His opponent Isnt he Class is an early season qualifier from Glin. He is trained in Cork by Robert Green and late money has arrived for him after an impressive trial. An interesting buckle looks in store.
2 nd Half
Killucan Ralph is a greyhound has progressed nicely during the campaign. He looked to be moving nicely in Kilcullen where he recorded the fastest clock in the second round. After being withdrawn in the next course he then reappeared in Dundalk. He again clocked up well in comparison to the all age runners. Needham ridge collected his ticket at the 5 th time of asking after a number of early round exits. He beat Kingsmill Jasper in the semi final coming from behind. This form is surely good enough to bring him into the equation and will be fancied to run well at the weekend. Black Barracuda was well fancied in Castleisland but bowed out at the semi final stage. He then went to Bandon where he ran away with the Mitchelstown Derby(16). He is from the tough as teak Blades of Glory line and hails from the conquering Michael O Donovan kennel. He has been top of the market since Bandon and with a likeable draw; he will surely have his supporters to go far. Crafty Tonino is another runner from the Adios Alonso- Crafty Pinero litter. He won a competitive TS in Rathkeale beating the Abbeyfeale TS winner comfortably in the semi final. He seems to relish a long field and if improving from Rathkeale, could well be in the shake up on Sunday. His opponent Bower Wonder impressed me in Ardpatrick. This dog who is well over 100lbs and will be well prepared by the Dunphy team for John Saunders. He won all his courses by 5 lengths or more so was not really challenged. He won’t have it his own way here and I expect a titanic battle in store.
Chapel Lane is another greyhound from the MJOD team. He ran well in knockgraffon losing a tight course to eventual winner somelittlestar in the semi-final. He then captured his TS in Borris In Ossory showing his improvement from previous outings. He seems to lack the speed of the fancied runners but if he got over a couple of rounds his toughness will come into play. Cuine Dale won his TS first time of asking in Nenagh but somewhat disappointed in Abbeyfeale losing to the eventual declared winner in the second round. His clock was behind the TS dogs at the meeting so will need to improve considerably to trouble the principals. See more lights is from the <Newinn Wonder- Chance me betty> litter and caught the eye in Borris In Ossory doing some good clocks. He then appeared in Galbally and won the TS convincingly. This late May whelp could have an amount of improvement in him and could cause a few shocks during the competition. Tory Hill Denzel showed great determination in the Dungarvan DTS when shocking the ¼ favourite Turbo Ashmore. His clocks were well behind other runners during the event but will have no fears here as he is a dog on the upward curve. The final 4 dogs in the 3 rd quarter will have been delighted with the draw as all seem to be in with a realistic chance of reaching the last 16.
The 4 th quarter is where things really hot up. Jet Stream is the first striking dog to be drawn out. This dog won an ultra-competitive TS in New Ross and was subsequently bought by Glen Healy and John O Sullivan. He remains with Kevin Barry who has a fantastic strike-rate at the meeting. Tellmemorelies and Blueview Rio looks to be one of the buckles of the first round. Both were very impressive winning their TS with Blueview shooting to the top of the market. His new owners paid a hefty sum for him and he is now trained by Ian Reilly. He looked top quality in Kilcullen after his TS winning the Troy Electrical champion puppy stake. Tellmemorelies first came to peoples attention in Charleville where he was withdrawn in the 3 rd round. He then won his TS in Ballyduff showing superb speed from half way. It has the making of a titanic buckle with Blueviews early pace sure to see him in front early. If Tellme keeps tabs on him, this could be very tight! Portane Ash has been subject to heavy market support since winning his TS in North Kilkenny. Another greyhound who is blessed with early pace, his breeding suggests he is made for Clonmel. His half bother was withdrawn from the Derby final last year and another half-brother won the Derby the year before. He is super hands and should get over his opening round to set up a buckle with Tellmemorelies or Blueview Rio.
Alcar is a dog who looks to be going in the right direction. His clock in the semi final in Kilcullen was actually faster than Blueview Rio highlighting his potential. He is by top dam Class Attraction who was no stranger to Powerstown, running there for 3 seasons in a row. He could well be the answer in the bottom 8 but a couple of dogs won’t let him have his own way. Rhythm and Rhyme won his TS in Ballyheigue and recently ran well in Mooncoin. I would put a line through his semi-final run there as he got a hard course in the second round. He looked to be a nice moving hound and is in more than capable hands. Crafty Gonzalo was to my eye the most impressive dog I’ve seen. He showed exceptional pace in Thurles but was shocked in the final. 3 weeks later he showed his electric pace in Kilsheelan where he won a good quality TS fairly convincingly. He will not be beaten easily and I can see him still standing Sunday morning.
Overall this has the makings of a fantastic Derby. Weather conditions, although bad during the week is set to clear up for the weekend. Reports from trials indicate super hares so the scene is set. Best of luck to all runners at the weekend and here’s hoping for another memorable weekend.