There will be a break in tradition when Clonmel & District Open Coursing Club stage their Freddie Warrell Memorial Ladies International Cup next Sunday, January 27.
For 44 years this event has been the curtain raiser to the National Coursing Meeting at Powerstown Park.
However with the latter event moving to a weekend the Open meeting has moved forward one week. Nethertheless the connection to the National event remains as the draw for the Derby and Oaks will take place in Clonmel next Sunday evening, shortly after events conclude out in the open.
The 2013 Ladies International has attracted a top quality field, all vying for the top prize of €2,000. First out of the draw drum was Toast Master, a Derby runner in 2011 and Cup winner last season. He should have the measure of Mardine Mills.
Local hope Marshals Duke, fresh from his Cup win at Mooncoin meets Sir Mark Prescott’s Pay Me in what could be THE course of the first round. Pay Me, thrice a Cup winner last season has been successful again this season, albeit in English Invitation Stakes. He is most dangerous in the early rounds and should reach the semi-final.
Remarkably three of the four runners in the second quarter ran-up Oaks Trial Stakes this season and Konoba reached the semi-final of another one. The locally owned Nibeautynicoffee also ran-up the Dalton Cup at Fethard Open over Christmas and on that basis is tipped to come out of this group.
Two pups that raised a few flags in Derby Trial Stakes this season and Needham Green representing last year’s winning connections are drawn in the third quarter but the nod is given to Carowkeal Benji. He ran in the same Derby as Toast Master but still retains plenty of ability and should progress to the latter stages of the competition.
Phoenix Magic and Rio Tee Tee represent English lady nominators but come up against two pups which could count themselves unlucky not to be heading to Powerstown Park a week later. The probable clash of Summerville Zoe and Balyduffiftyfive in the second round could ultimately decide the winner of this prestigious competition. It is normally foolhardy to select a runner at the bottom of the draw in the Open but as we saw at both Newbridge Open and Knockgraffon Open last weekend it is still very possible to win from there. We tentatively give Balyduffiftyfive to take the honours for Kerry hotelier Jimmy Browne and his daughter, lady nominator Kate Browne.
In another break with tradition patrons are asked to meet at the Monroe Sports Complex which is just off the Clonmel to Fethard Road at 9.30am sharp (First brace in slips 10.00am). Those coming from Clonmel should turn right shortly after passing the Half Way Bar. Coming from the Fethard direction please turn left approximately 1 ½ miles after coming through the village of Lisronagh. The Judge for the day will be Liam Kelly from Templetuohy and Clonmel man Richard Brannigan will be in charge of slips.