SQUID of Inagh was the big local winner when she got her all-age career off to a brilliant start at the Miltown Malbay coursing meeting at Ballymakeamor, Quilty last weekend.
Trained by Gerry Arthur, Inagh, and owned by the PSC syndicate of Seán Arthur, a son of the trainer, Colie O’Loughlin, also of Inagh and Paddy O’ Malley, Ennis, she won the all-age bitch stake (16) for the John Kenneally Memorial Cup to signal one of the biggest coursing successes for Inagh.
No doubt the chances of an Inagh win soared after misfortune hit the Johnny Dodger syndicate from Dromina, whose odds-on favourite, Candles Dripping, broke a leg after scoring a big second-round win on Saturday. This was hard luck again on the Dromina syndicate of John Hayes, Adrian Bowles, John Quinn and Ger Hayes, as their Michael O’Donovan-trained white and black daughter of Janeymacaroo-Lifes a Gamble was withdrawn from the Oaks after being a hot favourite.
At Miltown Malbay she was the pre-coursing favourite to win out at odds of 4-5 and by the way she went about her business there was nothing to suggest that she might disappoint her owners. She beat Clonmore Kate by five lengths in the first round and then easily dispatched of Yard Long in round two but tragedy struck when turning the hare for the second time.
This put a new complexion on the all-age event and on Sunday morning Beabus, owned by Clare native Ger Garrahy, now living in Ballyneety, was on the boards with bookmaker Denny Gould as the 2-5 favourite with Squid of Inagh at even-money and Leigh Smokey at 2-1.
Beabus, who won a trial stake at Galbally last season, won the opening semi-final when overcoming a late dash by Leigh Smokey and getting a just-up decision. Squid of Inagh, who caused a big shock on Saturday when beating the 6-4 chance, Atlantic Ashmore, by four lengths and then qualified for day two by beating the Kilkee-owned Fishermans Blonde by one lengh, had a bye run in the second semi-final through the absence of Candles Dripping.
Beabus was the big fancy in the final but from the start Squid of Inagh gave every indication that she was not out of her depth. She held on to her narrow lead to get the turn by one length to signal the start of celebration time for the Inagh contingent and their supporters.
Luck also departed the Johnny Dodger syndicate in the Miltown Malbay all-age dog stake (16) with their Irish Cup runner-up, Johnny Casanova, who was the 4-5 favourite for the event. The weather was at its worst, with strong winds and heavy rains, when this stake got underway but Johnny Casanova got safely through his first buckle with a three lengths win over Olatrim River in a straight run. He had a second-round date with the Kilflynn runner-up, Duarigle Star, and here he came a cropper after the Dan Joe Guiney-trained white and brindled just held the advantage all the way and won a just-up decision in another straight run. Duarigle All Star was on the boards at 5-2 before coursing.
In the top half the short odds were Finuge Smurf, Atlantic Tiger and Cooga Dan, all at 5-1, and Big Mans Bluff at 6-1. Finuge Smurf and Big Mans Bluff were the ones to survive from this half for the second day.
After dispatching the Irish Cup runner-up, Duarigle All Star was now the new 4-6 favourite on Sunday morning with Finuge Smurf even money, Trial Balance at 2-1 and Big Mans Bluff at 5-2.
There was an upset in the opening semi-final, which was claimed by Big Mans Bluff, who was two lengths in front of the Lixnaw-owned Finuge Smurf for the turn. Duarigle All Star had a similar winning distance over the Martin Keane (Kilmihil) trained Trial Balance, who was a trial stake winner at Abbeyfeale last season.
Beaten in the final at Kilflynn earlier in the season, Duarigle All Star made up for this disappointment by beating Big Mans Bluff by two lengths in the Miltown Malbay final. The winner is owned in Newmarket, County Cork by twins Sinéad and Eimear Guiney and trained by Dan Joe Guiney. Galway’s Aidan Tynans is owner of the runner-up.
There was no Clare success in either of the trial stakes.
The entry of 64 extended the Miltown Malbay fixture to a three-day event and on Friday Clune Hyland, owned by the West Clare PMM syndicate, was on the boards at 5-2, with Tynwald Tommy at 4-1 and the Pat Curtin-trained and West Clare (Joe Kelly) owned Padjomac and George Gallery’s Cillowen Noble both at 5-1. However, of this lot, only Padjomac survived for the second day.
Clune Hyland got over Cloneen Ecko in the first round, following which his odd shortened to 2-1. However, his chances of a Clonmel ticket ended in round two when beaten two lengths by the reserve runner and eventual winner, Stay Focused. Tynwald Tommy was also a second-round casualty when going out to Padjomac, who beat him by two lengths.
Padjomac was now the market leader at even money for the third round, with Stay Focused and Melodys Best, both at 5-2, Ballinveala Coco at 3-1 and Potential Flyer at 6-1. However, he made his exit at this stage when going out by half a length to Stay Focused. Potential Flyer, another reserve and who had a bye run in the opening round, had a close call when led most of the way by Drimeen Butcher but he came good near the finish to win by half a length.
Others to make it through from this top half were Road Breaker and Parker Brown, who had a bye run, and the ones to survive in the other half were Ballinveala Coco, Rahina Mossey, Melodys Caesar and I Say So.
The quarter-final buckles on Saturday afternoon resulted in Stay Focused seeing off Road Breaker by a length; Potential Flyer getting the flag from Parker Brown who was well clear until he picked up an injury; Rahina Mossey having a right old tussle with Ballinveala Coco before the former won a just-up decision and Melodys Caesar coming clear by four lengths against I Say So.
On Sunday morning Stay Focused was the even-money favourite, Potential Flyer and Melodys Caesar were 6-4 and Rahina Mossey was available at 2-1.
Stay Focused advanced to the final when he turned the hare two lengths in front of Potential Flyer and in a tight buckle Melodys Caesar got the flag from an unlucky Clarina-owned Rahina Mossey.
The long journeys from Derry by Paddy Barrett and from Glanmire, County Cork for Timmie O’Driscoll were worthwhile when their Stay Focused (Janey Macaroo-Gentle Twilight), who came out of a very competitive first quarter, won the final and the Derby ticket by four lengths from the Kevin Barry-trained Melodys Caesar, owned by Pat Collins, Ballylongford.
Go Nina and Take Your Mack (3-1) and Aristo Roo and Skellig Wave (4-1) were the short odds for the Oaks Trial Stake (32). All but Take Your Mack survived the first two rounds on Saturday. She went out in the second round to Go Nina.
On the second day Skellig Wave was installed as the 4-5 favourite with Go Nina (5-4), Aristo Roo (2-1), Finuge Molly and Matts Bird ( 4-1). Missing Hyland (6-1), Georges Street Diva ( 8-1) and Colina Karvo (10-1).
In the first of the quarter-finals it was a close affair between Aristo Roo and Go Nina but the later got through by half a length near the escape. Three lengths separated the Dan Brassil-trained Finuge Molly, the winner and Missing Hyland. Georges Street Diva, owned by Gerry O’ Donoghue, Gort, had four lengths on Colina Karvo in a straight run and Skellig Wave finished strongly to beat the Joe Collins-trained Matts Bird, owned by the Shanakyle syndicate from Parteen, by three lengths.
Finuge Molly was the first to reach the final when seeing off the late challenge by Go Nina to win by half a length and Skellig Wave joined him in the decider by beating Georges Street Diva by three lengths in a straight run.
In another thrilling final Finuge Molly (Bexhill Eoin-Finuge Flower) won by half a length from Skellig Wave. The winner is owned by Maurice and Pat Lyons from Lixnaw while Rose O’Driscoll from Glanmire, County Cork, is owner of Skellig Wave.
There was an all-Clare final of the Members Stake and Aggie Cleary Cup (16 one-course dogs and bitches) when Mephisto (Hondo Black- Face Value), owned by Martin Keane, Kilmihil, won by two lengths from Black Donail, owned by Kieran and Aaron Nugent, Doora, Ennis. The beaten semi-finalists were JJ O’Dea’s Derrylough Mac and Knockdrum Serdna (Pat Colins).
John Lynch from Kilfeeragh, Kilkee also had a winner at Ballymakeamor when his Ningaloo Maxi (Yeah Man-Fados Freak) won the Duffers Stake and Paddy Hehir Memorial Cup (eight two-course duffers). In another tight buckle, Ningaloo Maxi just got there from the East Clare-owned Millbridge Eoin (Stephen Murray and Donal Cooney).
Bookmaker Denny Gould and Noel Hehir, Inagh, also had reason to celebrate when their Hilltop Billy (Razldazl Billy-Chloebel) won the Tom O’Halloran Memorial Cup (14 surplus members). In the final they got the better of the Liam Shannon (Ballynacally) owned Go For It Mannik, who was unlucky from slips
There was no decider in the Working Members and Jimmy Marrinan Memorial Cup (10 one-course for members) when Fishermans Scoby (Matt Hyland- Fishermans Lucky), owned by Barry Harte, Kilkee, was winner. Withdrawn injured from the final was Bank Point, owned by Paddy Marrinan, Miltown Malbay and Ted O’Flaherty, Galway.
As usual, the Miltown Malbay fixture lived up to expectations, with plenty of good fare over the three days at the excellent Ballymakeamor venue, placed at the disposal of the club by Frank and Margate Cleary, who are club officers. Before the finals on Sunday two great club officers, Michael Mahony and Francie Nugent, who had died since the last meeting, were remembered, with a minute’s silence observed. Every year Michael used entertain patrons at interval time with his rendering of Lovely Old Miltown. This year, his voice was heard on tape. Other locals who contributed songs this year were another great club stalwart, Michael Burke of the Goodlands, Sharon Sexton and Terry Wilson.
Oilean Fantasy (Catlepines-DuraigleDee) owned by Gerry Meehhan, Ardkyle, Sixmilebridge, won the Derby Trial Stake (32) at the Castleisland coursing meeting in the final when he beat the locally owned Cryptic Rebel (Trajectory-Norwood Countess) by half a length
A new stake at the Ennis-Clarecastle coursing meeting on December 5 and 6 next will recall the achievements of Fourth of July winning the Irish Derby in Clonmel in 1957.
The dog was reared at Manus, Clarecastle on the property of Pat McInerney, a nephew of the owner of the Derby winner. The area in which the dog was reared now caters for the Ennis-Clarecastle coursing fixture and when the next meeting is held there on the first weekend in December there will be a new stake on the card. Appropriately, it will be called the Fourth of July stake and will be for eight trial stake winners, with €1,000 going to the winning owner.