In one of the most compelling and drama filled National Coursing meetings in recent years, Somelittlething (Kingsmill Dynamo / Moat Belle) earned John Flynn the Oaks title he so desperately craved in pulsating fashion in Powerstown Park last Monday afternoon.
Having tasted success with Hopes and Dreams in last season's Champion Stakes, Flynn travelled to Powerstown with a strong team in both the Derby and Oaks. And while his Derby challengers faded on day 2, Somelittlething was very much in the thick of the Oaks mix as proceedings moved on to finals day.
She lay down a real marker following a quarter-final defeat of the fancied Skellig Rose, and beat the favourite, Heart Light, trained by Gerry Holian, by a length and a half to advance to the final. Indeed it could well have been an all-Kerry decider as another of the Flynn owned runners, Upup and Away, was performing heroics in the bottom half of the draw. However, her crusade came a cropper at the penultimate round at the hands of Tynwald Jane. Upup and Away is trained in Castleisland by Michael Murphy, who performed heroics with this lady as she was the outsider of the field when the action got underway on the opening morning.
So with the final pairing decided, the huge attendance waited anxiously for the final buckle of this season's Oaks. The Tarbert runner was sent to slips the hot odds-on favourite, and she was quickly into her stride and pulled clear of her rival through the opening phase. Indeed Somelittlething extended her advantage on the rising ground as roars went up from the packed stands.
To her credit, Tynwald battled back gamely, but the progressive early start of the North Kerry runner proved decisive and she held on gamely for a famous victory. Winning trainer John Flynn also co-owns the bitch with lifelong friends, Eddie Quilty and Liam Delahunty from Mooncoin.
There was further Kerry success in the final of the Kitty Butler Stakes as Turning Pace (March Is On/Big Maggie), owned in Lixnaw by Rachel Lyons, and trained by Paudie Lyons, made light of the outsiders tag to take a famous victory at the expense of Bank Perspective. Unlucky to be beaten in the opening round of the Oaks by Turbo Julie, Turning Pace put in some polished performances en route the final of the consolation Stake, and showed terrific pace in the final of the 32 bitch Stake.
Berkie Browne from Listowel was also on the winner's podium on Monday evening as Collect Me Now (Adios Alonso/Moat Belle), whom he co-owns with Noreen McManus from Martinstown, collected with style in the Grace Burton Champion Bitch Stake. She looked the star performer from the opening round, and took victory in a one-sided final against Liz's Touch by four lengths. The winner is trained by Gerry Holian in Athenry.
Meanwhile, Kyle Calvin (Kyle Basil/ Maureen Rua) made a 'Lazurus like' recovery from a semi-final hunt to claim the Derby crown, in one of the most dramatic finishes to the classic in recent years. The Patrickswell runner was sent to slips the 5/2 outsider against With Grim Intent in the decider, with many believing that a final wouldn't even take place. However, the Michael Field trained runner showed in front from the drop of slips, and quickly opened daylight between the pair. The advantage extended to four lengths at one point, and although With Grim Intent rallied late, there was to be no denying the winner, and Kyle Calvin claimed the Derby with a length and a half in hand. There is a strong Kerry connection with the winner, as he was bred in Currow by Walter Costello.
The Champion Stakes provided a surprise winner in the form of Corriga Rebel (Janey McAroo/Glowing Times) who defeated the 'hot-pot' Mr Blonde in the final by three lengths. The winner is trained Brian Walsh from Cavan.
Finally, there was to be no joy for Lixnaw runner Call Him Bale (Kingsmill Dynamo/ Call Her Now) in the final of the T.A. Morris Stakes, losing out to Cuine Rock by a length at the top of the stretch.