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Thurles All Age Cup

All Age Previews 2015-16

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O Meara Cup

Crafty too clever in Thurles

The O Meara cup in Thurles is the feature event over the weekend in Tipperary. Since moving to their new field on the outskirts of Holycross, Thurles CC have gone from strength to strength. The last two seasons has seen many new visitors to their grounds being impressed with the set up and training of the hare stock. I’m sure this year will be no different. The opening course of the O Meara cup is sure to be competitive with Cooga Hero doing battle with Lincolns Call. Cooga Hero was a very fast pup but got injured in the final of the TS in Regional where he tore a muscle and never got back to the same form after. He opened his campaign in all age company with a promising run in Glin where SturdyandStaunch just got up to deny him in the ¼ final. He will be a strong challenger here. His opponent Lincolns call was promising as a pup but never reached the same heights last year as an all age. His best performance was a semi final spot in Templetuohy where he was beat by Inch Hothead.

Chubbys Hill is a track bred dog but has shown ability. He was entered in Cashel 2 weeks ago so will be ready to roll here. His opponent Coolree Romeo won a duffer in Nenagh last year and later reached the semi finals in Doon. A tight buckle looks in store but I feel Cooga Hero might have too much for the winner of this course in the 2nd round. The next course should be a cracker with Reserve TS winner from last year Ballymac Abraham against Crafty Tornado. Ballymac was a young dog last year so should have any amount of improvement in him. He couldn’t have asked for a tougher 1st round in Crafty. I liked this dog in Kilmallock last year where I though after the ¼ final he would win the TS. He was beat in the semi final but stormed to victory in Milstreet. He ran with great credit in Clonmel, beating red mania in the first round and Arcade maximus in the second. Arcade has already ran up the  Desmond cup this year so the form is very strong. He gets my vote to win this round and go on to beat Castle Franco in the second. Franco is an interesting dog as only ran once as a pup where he was beat in the 3rd round of the TS in Cashel when clocking up well. He must have picked up a serious injury here and if returning to full fitness could give crafty a good buckle.

The bottom half is just as competitive with many fascinating courses in store. Hotspot had a great season last year winning the cups in Sevenhouses and Enniscorthy. He was beat in the semi final of the Champion stakes and will be highly fancied here if returning in the same form. He should get over Marshalls Adio in round one. Adio was beaten by Chubbys Charmer in the final of the Derby TS in mooncoin but disappointed in Glin recently. Carlbush and Ratoo Paddy will be a close buckle but I feel the winner will come up short in round 2. Walk Away Boy may be the surprise package in the field. He is owned by the ‘Puff’ Morrissey and trained in Kilmallock by John Browne. John won the AAB in Abbeydorney last week so his kennels are starting to hit form. Walk Away boy was fancied to land the TS in Mallow last year but injury in the semi final scuppered his chance. He reappeared late in the season in Milstreet but was beat in the 3rd round. If back to his best he could be worth a small punt.
The final course of the Cup will see the highly promising Sky Star return to action. He was well liked last year but never really put it all together. He meets the Templetuohy cup winner from last year in round one. Inch Hothead created celebratory scenes in ‘tuohy’ last year and rumour has it that Pat is still celebrating the fantastic win. He is a very fast dog and may have the experience edge which may see him over the line here. He gets my vote to progress to set up a clash with Walk Away.

Overall it is a hard cup to gauge. Many dogs are returning to action after showing a lot of promise as pups. On all known form this year Cooga Hero looks the likely winner but I think if Crafty returns to Powerstown form he should be good enough to land the prize. Walk away Boy looks the likely finalist in the bottom half from Hotspot.

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