All Age Bitch Stake
What a weekend of coursing lays in store for the town of Castleisland. I didn’t think I saw a cup as hot as the Island cup until I looked at its AAB stake. For a 16 event, this stake will take some winning. The opening rounds sees the return of Bucks Honey. She was one of the best AAB’s last year winning 2 cups, Castleisland and Ballyduff. She then came in season and has had a litter of pups in the meantime. In the second round we have Turning Pace. A fast puppy, she enhanced her reputation in Clonmel by winning the Kitty Butler stakes and this year by winning the AAB stake in Kilflynn. She will be fancied here but I think there is a big gulf in class between that stake and this. Dynalite is a 3 rd season bitch who won the AAB event in Kerry and should progress to Monday here. The next course sees one of the top bitches in the past 2 years, Blades of Steel. She is an incredible gutsy lady who like Turning pace opened her debut all age career with a win in Kilflynn. She ran one round after that event so her wellbeing is taken on trust here. If back to her best I expect her to reach the semi-
The opening round of the second half sees the Oaks winner from last year. Owned by the JEL syndicate and trained by John Flynn, she was a credit to connections last year. She won her TS in lixnaw and never looked back since. She was well liked in Clonmel for her tenacity and never say die attitude. She will probably start favourite for this event and on all known form looks the one to side with if anything like her form last year. The next course is going to be a great buckle with Smart Sadie meeting Kilty Millie. Smart Sadie was purchased for a 5 figure sum after winning her TS in Waterford. She is lightly raced and could be a surprise package here. She meets the very fast Kilty Mille. She was unlucky not to qualify for the Champion stake last year when following a way ward hare in the final of the all age in Galbally. If she had won there, I have feeling she would have been one of the favourites for Clonmel such is her ability. He experience might just see her over the line in this buckle.
The next buckle is just as interesting. Skellig blues is a fast bitch who failed to live up to expectations at the Cashel meeting lately. She was beat in the second round there but sources say she didn’t come away great in the 2 nd round and would prefer a field with a pull. This is backed up by her form in Miltown Malbay, Abbeyfeale and Clonmel last year. This field should suit her well here. Careful Betty was beat in the final of the AAB in Glin. Although reaching the final, this stake is different kettle of fish and I think will struggle to hold Skellig blues in this course.
Overall we have a superb All Age bitch stake with many bitches fancying their chances. The top half looks between Bucks Honey, Turning Pace and BladesofSteel with Turning Pace my fancy to progress to Monday’s decider. The bottom half will be most interesting. If Somelittlething returns to form then she should go close however Skellig Blues could upset all. A humdinger of a cup lies in wait! Best of luck to all runners.