THE Clare contingent will travel with a fair degree of confidence to the National Coursing Meeting in Clonmel this week-end, with some worthy representatives in the classics. Pride of place goes to Kilmihil, with three runners representing the parish at Powerstown Park.
A lot of attention will also be focused on Mullagh native, Dr Paddy O’Kelly, whose unbeaten and Gerry Holian-trained Reikers Iskand (Adios Alonso – Blades of Glory) is second favourite for the Boylesports Derby. He won a good trial stake at Westmeath United and his prospects have been given a huge boost since then by winning the Corn na Féile puppy stake at Abbeyfeale, an event regarded as a good barometer for Clonmel.
The favourite is his litter brother, Blades of Fire (6/1), also trained by Gerry Holian. He is owned by Mary Guiney (Rathkeale).
The draws were made in the Horse and Jockey Hotel, the sponsor of the Oaks, on Friday night last.
Out of the hat in the first quarter of the derby was was Wood Fang (33/1), the Tradaree qualifier, owned by Carl Maguire, Kilcarroll, Kilrush and Adrian Ennis, Killucan. He meets the Templetuohy qualifier Dru Mac (33/1).
Also in this quarter, Reikers Island (7/1) comes up against Askcharlesoliver (25/1), who got the ticket from East Donegal. Whatdontuknow (20/1), which won a trial stake in Miltown Malbay for Martin Keane, Kilmihil and Albert Long, Ballyea and Clidfen, goes to slips with Brians Choice (33/1), the Dungannon winner.
Callura Sonic (40/1), the Bandon and Carey’s Cross winner, owned in Ennistymon by PJ Reynolds and Josie Considine, has a second quarter date with James Treasure (20/1), the Galbally represesentative.
In the third quarter, Sporting Romeo (50/1), the Loughrea winner owned by the Sporting Lads Syndicate, of which Clare TD Joe Carey is a member, meets the Dungarvan trial stake winner, Go Usain (25/1). Also in this quarter is Breska Diamond (20/1), trained by West Clare-born Pat Curtin, Enniskerry for Mark Dolan, Clarina and Gerry Hughes, Galway. A winner at Kilcreevin-Ballymoate, he clashes with the Freshford representatyve Wigs Well (50/1).
Abunchoftools (33/1), owned by the 10-member Glory Kilmihil Syndicate, is in the fourth quarter where he meets Winter Wish (33/1), owned by the Dream Catchers Syndicate from Galway. Winter Wish is the renamed Ivy Hill Trad and won the reserve trial stake at Ennis-Clarecastle for his then owner, Noel Hehir of Inagh. Also in the same quarter, the favourite Blades of Fire (6/1) comes up against the Ballyduff winner, Away Razor (20/1).
In the Horse and Jockey Oaks, the County Kerry runner-up, Oilean Cailin (28/1), owned by Sixmilebridge native Gerry Meehan (Kiskeam) and his son, Seán, is due to meet the Trim winner Finn Dancer (20/1).
A third quarter runner is Mixed Marriage (20/1), which won the Nenagh trial stake final for Martin Keane, Kilmihil and his 15-year-old Cork nephew, Cian Daly. She meets the Ennis-Carecastle winner, Ougham Honey (40/1).
There are two more Clare hopefuls in the fourth quarter.
Goleen Return (33/1), winner of the Limerick City trial stake for Susan Garrahy, Clonlara and her mother, Eilish O’Sullivan, Labasheeda goes to slips with the Westport representative Tree Top Kerry (14/1), while Miss McGill (25/1), the Mooncoin winner owned by Cooraclare natives Liam and Doris Liddy, meets the East Donegal winner Society (50/1).
The Killimer-Kilrush trial stake winner, Well Friend, owned by Michael Cooney, Nenagh and PJ Cooney, Nenagh and Ennis is also in the fourth quarter and is due to meet the Borris-in-Ossory winner Following Lights (33/1).
Two cup wins in Ennis-Clarecastle and Cooraclare were not sufficient to get Ivy Hill Time, owned by Noel Hehir (Inagh) into the draw for the Kevin Smith Champion Stakes. He is second reserve.
Coursing starts at 11am on Saturday when it will be once through the Oaks, Derby and Kitty Butler Stakes. Sunday starts at 11am with TA Morris Stakes, twice through the Oaks and Derby and once through Kitty Butler Stakes. Monday, with an 11.30am start, will see the card completed, including the Kevin Smith Champion Stakes and Grace and Matt Bruton Champion Bitch Stake.