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Knockgraffon All Age Preview

All Age Previews 2015-16

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Knockgraffon Cup
Portane to Pocket the Prize

The all age stake in Knockgraffon has attracted 2 of the top puppies from last year. Portane All Inn and Feel my Pulse both reached the final of last year’s Derby in powerstown but injury prevented Portane from competing. Going through the draw at first glance, it looks the dream final but they will not get their own way with many dogs fancying their chances.
The opening buckle will see Maker of rules hot favourite to advance. He is a very lightly raced dog with massive pace. Last season he ran up the AAD stake in Miltown losing to Lineroad Amigo in the final. He didn’t appear then until the Irish cup where he recorded some exceptional clocks and was beaten in the 4 th round by Serene Angel. He returns to action here but one would be sceptic about his well-being and ability to last the 4 rounds (he is prone to picking up niggly injuries). He should beat Who needs Proof whose best run was winning the duffer stake in Mooncoin last year. Portane All Inn will be short favourite to win the next course against Marlfield King. As already mentioned, he reached last years Derby final after storming to victory in Newcastlewest. He ran once this year in Castleisland losing in the semi-final to Kyle Bruce. He got a small muscle injury there and is reported to be back to his best. He is owned by working member Joe Blair whose Timber House stormed to victory last week in Ballyduff. He will be hoping for a double with Portane this week. He should beat Marlfield who won the working members stake in Kilsheelan last week but takes a huge step up in class here.  
The next course will be very competitive. Wizard Matthew was well liked last year as a pup. He was beat by Timber house in the final of the Derby TS in Ballyduff and also in Co. Kerry by Ramona Misty. He won 2 rounds in Kilflynn on the opening day of the season but took  a big step forward 2 weeks ago in Listowel where Time James beat him in the final .He seemed to go offline in the final when the hare ran off to the right. He returns here but I feel the 5 runs there will take its toil as the competition progresses. 2 weeks is a short time to recover but being handled by top trainer Brendan Matthews, you would never know. He will not have his own way however with recent Fermoy All Age winner Duarigle Darwin. He was outsider in the final there but showed great determination to get up in the final. Wizard might just have his measure in the opening round. Cuban Casino is another lightly raced dog who ran up the TS to Carrowkeal Gavin in Bandon. His clocks in the semi-final (ICC) were similar to Gavin so he is not without a chance here. His only outing this year was in New Ross where Sunfire Nova beat him in the 2 nd round. Micks Victory was a well deserved winner for Darren Byrnes and Tim Donovan last year in Templetuohy. He relished the long field there so will hold no qualms about Knockgraffon. He was sold during the summer and his pipe opener in Listowel a couple of weeks ago should have him spot on here. Cuban might just prevail however.

The second half of the draw is just as competitive  with the bottom quarter featuring 4 dogs all hoping to reach the semi-final. The opening course in the 3 rd quarter sees amazing king against Budore Vic. King is putting his Derby credentials on the line here. He was a most impressive winner of the Derby Trial stake in Crohane. Should he survive the opening course here, he will probably meet last year’s Classic winner in round two. This will be a sure indication of his chances come February. His opponent Vic’s best performance came in Dundalk last year where he won 2 rounds of the Derby Trial Stake.

The second course in the quarter is one many followers will be wishing to see. Feel my pulse won the Derby Trial stake here on route to capturing the Derby in Powerstown. While many feel he was fortunate to have no final, he beat what was put in front of him and was a worthy winner. He beat ante-post favourite Crusher Oak in the opening round and beat the imperial Timber House in the semi-final. Both have franked the form this year with Crushers withdrawn from the final in Nenagh (received an injury), while Timber looked most impressive in Ballyduff. Connections will have made sure Pulse is back to his best to reappear this season. He is one the few Derby winners in recent times to return to action and will hope to enhance his reputation for Stud purposes also. His sister All stressed out won in Kilsheelan last week and many others have ran with credit so I’m sure he will have trained on well. In all reality he should be much too good for Total Smokey. This dog won a reserve TS in South Clare but was beat comprehensively in the AAD stake in Waterford last month.
Whiskey Galore ran well last year but has disappointed this season. He ran last week in Kilsheelan and was beat comfortably in the opening round by Marshalls Adio. He will need to recapture last season’s form to have any say. I think the interesting dog in this quarter is Kingcormac Fairy. He ran last week in Kilsheelan and looked like he needed the run. He was led 3 lengths by Carrowkeal Jonjo at one stage of the course but really battled on well to be beaten a length. He will love the long field and should be spot on this week. He gets my vote to win this course. If winning, he will face Marshall Adio or Eastern Shore. Marshalls looked impressive in his opening course in Kilsheelan but found Whatdoyoufancy 2 lengths too good in the second. He ran well in Thurles and a repeat showing here should see him progress to Sunday. Eastern Shore was a formidable force in all ages last year but has failed to shine this time. Unless returning to his old form he will find the Roche trained runner too hot.
Overall it is all set up for the dream final. Portane with his 3 runs from Castleisland has a fitness advantage and for this reason I am selecting him to continue Michael O Donovan’s excellent record this year. Kincormac Fairy and Maker of rules are two greyhounds who could upset either of the fancied dogs.


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