Saturday’s heavy rain wasn’t enough to keep the crowds away from Ballyglasheen and the faithful were rewarded with coursing of the highest standards. No matter where you stood in the field, you were within earshot of visitors remarking “haven’t they superb hares here this year”.
Improving weather conditions on Sunday showed off the beauty and splendour of the Clonmel & Kilsheelan Coursing Club surroundings in the valley of Sliabh na mBan, and all were agreed that this year’s meeting was the best two days coursing put on by the club for very many years.
The Tipperary Cup stays within the county boundary this year as the Kevin Barry (Rosegreen) trained Caesar Music returned to the site of his trial stake win two years ago, and took what is his third cup win this season. Ben Nevis took his place in the final at the expense of local hope Marshals Safari, but Caesar, on the back of a semi-final win over Newry Legend was not to be denied. This third win is surely enough to see him through to Powerstown for the Champion Stakes, and he will be extremely hard to oppose there. Priced at 4/6 before the semi-finals, the hotly-fancied Caesar was running in the nomination of Noel Stapleton and Johnny O’Connell.
The Sean Drohan Memorial for all-age bitches saw several upsets take place and in the end it was Cumbawn Ellen who took the spoils for joint owners Brian Sheehan and Donal Keating at the expense of Cushie Wingbell. Both were the outsiders in their respective semi-finals with Ellen turning over the “twos-on” favourite Loud Music and Cushie eliminating the second-favourite Slick Snowy. The winner ran in the nomination of club treasurer Dick Lonergan, who incidently, also nominated last year’s Tipperary Cup winner.
The Derby Trial Stake ended up heading to Kerry in another upset, as the winner Blackpool Swank, was freely available at 4/1 prior to the semi-finals. Owned by T.J.Maher of Lixnaw, the winner had accounted for Kingsmill Master in their semi-final, while his final opponent, Ballyblue Eoin had beaten the then “evens” favourite Flynntown Flyer.
In the Oaks Trial Stake, there were two local chances standing at semi-final stage in the shape of the Roche family’s Marshals Duchess and the Eddie Keating-owned Westgate Belle. Both had to give best however, to Bambas Minnie and Holy Lady respectively. These two were highly regarded by the on-course layers prior to coursing commencing on Saturday at 3/1 and 2/1 for outright victory. By semi-final stage, Holy Lady had hardened to 1/2 and she went on to be a very impressive winner of what was a top-class stake. Owned by Jim Hennessy of Urlingford, this Lady is one to keep an eye on.
The final of the Frank Byrne Memorial Stake and Brackford Cup, was an all-Windgap affair, as nextdoor neighbours Conor Power and Maria Byrne sent out Raw Olivia and Dysert Finsceal to decide on who would have the local bragging rights. Raw Olivia was fast away from slips and ran on strongly to take the flag and ensure that club P.R.O. Conor Power was the one to cross the bridge with the silverware.
A hugely successful meeting then for the Clonmel & Kilsheelan Coursing Club, we will watch with interest as to how our runners go on to perform for the rest of season and wish our winners all the best in Powerstown in the New Year.