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Holian scores a double at Clonmel

TRAINER Gerry Holian was the star of the show when the 85th national coursing meeting ended in a blaze of glory for the Athenry man in Clonmel on Wednesday.
He brought off a magnificent double, winning the Boylesports.com Derby with Adios Alonso and the Grace Bruton Champion Bitch Stakes with Cleanaway Smurf, jointly owned by John O’Donoghue, Cree and Finbarr O’Connor, Millstreet.
The win by Cleanaway Smurf (Bexhill Eoin-Uptown Smurf) ensured that Clare was once again to the fore on the final day of the national meeting. Either way, Gerry Holian was on a winner in the Champion Bitch Stakes final as the runner-up, Blades of Glory, is also trained by him.
Owned by Denis Guiney, Rathkeale, Blaze of Glory was on her way to victory when leading Cleanaway Smurf by over a length in the final. However, she appeared to cramp and the West Clare-owned brindled went on to win by a large margin. It was a great triumph for John O’Donoghue, the popular chairman of the South Clare Coursing Club. It compensated somewhat for his disappointment at this venue in recent years when his Sienna Steel was beaten in the semi-final of the derby. The Arklow-owned Kingsmill Bliss started out 6/4 favourite for the Champion Bitch Stakes worth €10,000 to the winner. Cleanaway Smurf was on the boards at 2/1 and beat Abbeyglen Judy by three lengths in her first run. She qualified for the semi-finals by getting a just-up decision from the Pat Curtin-trained Ashtown Amy. Kingsmill Bliss won her way to the other semi-final but in another just-up decision, she was beaten by Blades of Glory.
In ideal coursing conditions and before what appeared to be a record crowd, Gerry Holian won the blue riband of Irish coursing when winning the Irish Derby with the pre-coursing favourite Adios Alonso (Jamui Mac Aroo-Eoin Bui) owned by the Holian, Maher and O’Sullivan syndicate. He won the final in great style by one length from Mafi Magic (Bexhill Eoin-Chubby’s Óg) owned by the Shamrock Bar syndicate in Kilworth.
There was no Hotel Minella Oaks final when Lisloose Accord (Bexhill Eoin-Chubby’s Accord) was declared the winner. The other finalist, the Ian Reilly-trained Needham time was withdrawn injured.
The Curtin family from Monard were out of luck in the final of the Keen Laddie when their Ballygodoon Best (Bexhill Eoin-Windfarm Lady) was beaten by two lengths by Central Mentor (Beshill Eoin-Chubby’s Og) owned by Brendan Matthews, Newry and Brendan Duffy, Derry. The runner-up is owned by Bridget and John Curtin and trained by Pat Curtin.
Matt’s Jett, trained by Joe Collins, Parteen, for the Shanakyle Syndicate reached the last eight in the TA Morris Stake but was beaten in the first buckle on Wednesday by the Abbeyfeale-owned Captain Dru (Beshill Eoin-Longview Ciara), the eventual winner, from the Tralee-owned Daniel Finnian.
Proceedings opened on Monday before a big crowd when the first few slips in the Hotel Minella Oaks were a little short. However, things righted themselves after that with Newinn All Inn (4/1) and Go Nina (7/1) the market leaders.
It was unfortunate that Scattery Express, the Liscannor qualifier owned by the Scattery Syndicate from Killimer and trained by Dan Brassil had to come up against Go Nina in the opening round. She gave a good account of herself but when they reached the steep part of the climb, the favourite pulled clear to win the first turn by one length.
The next Clare runner in the Oaks was Burnpark Sadie owned by the Browne family from Leitrim near Kilmihil. Although she was a very late qualifier when coming from the Kilcreevin-Ballymoate meeting on January 24, she was in flying form to beat Spruce Story by two lengths.
The big shock of the opening round in the Oaks was the elimination of Newinn All In, who was beaten by one length in a short skip by Needham Time.
The very first buckle of the Boylesports.com Derby was the one the big Clare contingent was anxiously waiting for with Him Over There versus Colossal Storm, both trained by George Gallery. The bookies had it long odds 33/1 Colossal Storm and 100/1 Him Over There and although Colossal Storm just shaded it from slips, Him Over There soon asserted himself and went on to win by one-and-a-half lengths. The Pat Curtin-trained Ibrickane Pat, owned by the Quilty syndicate, was also drawn in this quarter but beaten by the Knockgraffon qualifier Drive on Guest. In the second quarter, the Joe Collins-trained Matts Jet came in as a reserve for Discipline but failed to match the Doon-owned Cooga Ruby, who had an advantage of two lengths for the turn. In another all-Clare clash, Oileán Dreamer, owned and trained by Sixmilebridge native Gerry Meehan, led from slips and was always in control for his three-length win over the Pat Curtin-trained Ashtown Rusty.
In the final first-round buckle of the derby, Upsetter, owned in West Clare by Paddy Meade, failed by three lengths to the Glanmire-owned Beyond Gaisce (Matt Hyland-Rith Gan Gaisce).
The big talking point before coursing was the big gamble on the Michael Kelleher (Cork) and Brendan Matthews (Newry) owned Wilton Herald in the Derby and he went from 16/1 into 5/1. The Old Kilcullen qualifier got through his first-round engagement with a two-length win over Funoftheforge in a straight run. The 4/1 favourite Adios Alonso, trained by Gerry Holian, got off to a flyer of a start when beating Tory Hill Blonde with a clock of 12.38, the best of the opening round.
The outcomes of both the derby and oaks were still fairly open after two more rounds of the classics on Tuesday. In the derby, Prevelance and Adios Alonso were 3/1; Brazing Serpent and Mafi Magic were 4/1; Drive on Guest and Mucky Eamon 5/1, with Caesar Magic and High and Mighty 6/1.
In the opening buckle, members of the Hey You Syndicate from Ennis were delighted to see their Him Over There advance to the third round by beating Medieval Quarter by three lengths with a clock of 12.85. Gerry Meehan’s Oileán Fantsy (12.94) had a bye run through the absence of Colla Agadown while the 2/1 favourite Adios Alonso (12.69) was five lengths better than Likely Treble.
The first big upset of round two was the defeat of the well-backed Wilton Herald owned by Michael Kelleher (Cork) and Brendan Matthews (Newry). In a straight run, he was beaten by seven lengths by Mailroad George (12.77) bred by Patricia and Leona Ryan, Ennis. Another who took a big tumble was Stiff Test (16/1), who was beaten two lengths by the 40/1 shot Lone Boxer (12.83).
Adios Alonso was now the 3/1 favourite going into round three and he made no mistake when seeing off the challenge of Likely Treble by two and a half lengths in 12.76.
Him Over There (20/1) had a battle on his hands and although he was there for a long time, he was finally beaten by two lengths by Drive On Guest (4/1).
Though he looked smarter than in his bye run, Oileán Fantasy (25/1) was also out of luck when just edged out by Caesar Music.
Prevelence, also bred by Patricia and Leon Ryan, set up a quarter-final buckle with Mucky Eamon when disposing of Tubbermartin Lad by three lengths.
Precious Moment, who had a grueller on Monday as a result of a short slip, was absent from the oaks on Tuesday as was She’s a Dazzler, Go Nina, Latest Gamble and Rushing. Pat Daly’s Intense Focus was the 4/1 favourite; Needham was on the boards at 9/2. Lucan Glory 5/1, Flowerofthelaune and Chillax Gabriela were both at 6/1, Razor Scotch was 7/1, Delotti and the George Gallery bred and Clarina-owned Helen’s Diva were quoted at 8/1, while Burnpark Sadie, owned by the Browne family from Leitrim was 25/1. As was the case on the opening day, the first few slips were short but the favourites survived. However, this was not the case at the bottom end of the draw when the big shock of the round was the elimination of the hot favourite Intense Focus who went out to Class Attraction by one-and-a-half lengths.
Another big talking point was the decision of the judge to wave the flag in favour of the Tarbert-owned Razor Scotch, who was involved in a desperately close buckle with the 33/1 shot Sonas Amber.
The Kilcreevin-Ballymore qualifier Burnpark Sadie saw her oaks chance disappear in round two when the Tralee-owned Lisloose Accord (12/1) was always in front before winning by five lengths.
Helens Diva, bred by George Gallery, Ennis, was an impressive five-length winner over Bower Sign in this round also.
Needham Time (3/1), Flowerofthelaune, Lucan Glory and Helens Diva, all at 4/1 and Razor Scotch (5/1) were the big shots for round three. With the exception of Razor Scotch, who was at least two lengths in arrears coming from slips before being beaten by three lengths by Glin View Bittle (12.86), the rest of the short prices made it through to the final day. Flowerof thelaune (12.99) beat Chillax Gabriela by five lengths: Lucan Glory (13.06) beat Enjoythesunshine by three lengths though in a slower time than the opening day; Lady Nimble (12.74) overcame the challenge of Delotti by four lengths; Needham Time (12.78) had a bye run through the absence of Latest Gamble who was injured in the previous round; Helens Diva (12.75) had one length on Tullamoy Queen, while five lengths was the difference between the winner Liloose Accord (12.73) and Toner’s Girl. In the final buckle of the second round, Vacume Starlight (13.10) spotted her game late to deprive Class Attraction.
The Killimer-owned Scattery Express ended her run in the Kitty Butler stake when going out to Honeycomb View, the length-and-a-half winner.
The Ennis-Clarecastle reserve winner, Matt’s Jet, trained by Joe Collins, Parteen, advanced in the TA Morris stake when taking care of Lowesgreen Danny by two lengths but the Quilty syndicate-owned Ibrickane Pat was not as fortunate when making an exit at the hands of Daniel Finnian, who had a length-and-a-half to spare.
It was unlucky that Clune Hyland (PMM syndicate Killimer) and I Say So (the Way In syndicate, Kilrush and Killimer) should clash in the Keen Ladies’ Stake and the one to survive by one length was I Say So.

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