Favourites tumble at Powerstown Park
There were plenty of shocks as the national coursing meeting got under way in perfect weather conditions at Powerstown Park yesterday morning and the opening day closed with co-favourites in both classics.
The major shock of the first round of the BoyleSports Derby was the defeat of the favourite Blueview Rio.
He was sent packing by the James Allen-trained Tellmemorelies, which pulled away on the hill to take the turn by four lengths.
It was a dramatic few minutes as in the very next course the joint second favourite Portane Ash gave a pretty flat performance and was beaten a length by the Kevin Marmion-trained Furey Mills.
Fastest dog on the clock was Alcar at 12.18 and he is now a 10/1 chance in the betting. Three dogs are sharing favouritism at 5/1 to take the €50,000 winner's prize.
They are the Michael O'Donovan- trained duo of True North and Black Barracuda along with Brian Divilly's Crafty Gonzalo.
Divilly's Crafty Toro is also one of the leading fancies on the 8/1 mark.
The course of the day was probably in the Horse & Jockey Hotel Oaks in which Tim O'Driscoll's Skellig Jewel went a few lengths up but was hard pressed to hold the determined challenge of Con Guiney's Manley Girl by half a length.
At the end of the first day, the joint favourites at 5/1 to win the bitch classic are Skellig Jewel and John Flynn's Graceandglamour, while Gerry Holian's Laurdella Dani is 6/1.
Sullane Erin, Moat Matilda, Definite Babe and Newinn Rose share the 8/1 mark and it is 10/1 bar.
Meanwhile, on the track the final of the Joe Dunne Memorial is the top event at Shelbourne tonight, with Droopys Roddick the likely winner.
He has a potentially difficult draw in trap three but can track the inside runners Riverside Oscar and Clares Rocket into the back before asserting.
Droopys Tee could well emerge as the major threat to Roddick.
The heats of the Best Car Parks Gold Cup will also be run and a few thrilling battles are anticipated in this one.
The clash of Hee Haws Sheriff and Lenson Panda could be special and the latter may prevail, while other fancies in the heats are Lenson Sanchez, Proud Graham, Slippery Fred and Sidarian Vega.
There is also a top-class card at Clonmel where the final of the Red Mills Open Unraced will feature the brilliant young prospect Boylesports Duke.
He has been hugely impressive to date but may be better suited by an outside draw, rather than the inside trap which he will occupy. The secret to the race could be the early yards and if Boylesports can avoid trouble at this stage he should be well on his way to victory.
Another eagerly awaited contest at Clonmel is the 1,015-yard marathon featuring those two staying stars Ballymac Bonnie and Tradition. Pat Dalton's star bitch Tradition gets the vote to beat her old foe.
The second round of the Gain Cup will be run over 525 yards at Curraheen Park.