Coursing: Alonso shines to woo the punters
The massively built Adios Alonso is a clear favourite to win the Boylesports.com Derby after the opening day of the National Coursing Meeting at Powerstown Park.
Needham Time, which recently changed hands, is the market leader for the Hotel Minella Oaks.
The start to the day was delayed by half an hour due to frost and there was huge activity in the betting ring. There were two major gambles on the Derby, with Wilton Herald hammered from 25/1 in to 6/1, while Kerry Calling was a mover from 16/1 to 7/1.
Adios Alonso had been a 5/1 chance at the start of the morning but ended up the joint favourite with Wilton Herald by the time the Derby got under way. Both survived but Adios Alonso was clearly the more impressive and his clock of 12.38 seconds brought a gasp from the crowds.
Overall it was a satisfactory opening to the meeting with good weather and top-class hares. However the variation in the slipping between the Oaks and the Derby was somewhat disconcerting.
The big shock of the Derby opening round was the defeat of Kerry Calling -- he just failed to cope with Ned and Anna Daly's Medieval Quarter. Wilton Herald did his job against Funoftheforge but didn't sparkle.
However, how many times have we seen Brendan Matthews turn a dog around between the first and final days?
The bitches got far more work than the dogs and the standard appeared to be pretty level and we now have a group of bitches separated by just a few points at the top of the betting.
The most anticipated clash was that between ante-post favourite Newinn All In and Needham Time and we weren't disappointed as the Ian Reilly-trained Needham Time overcame an early length deficit to put out the favourite by a length-and-a-half.
Antoinette Courtney's Lucan Glory looked a smart sort when disposing of Rua Nua, while in the bottom half the two to make most appeal were Lisloose Accord and Intense Focus.