Coursing: Pines looks one to beat in chase for Derby glory
NATIONAL MEETING PREViEW
CLONMEL becomes the focus of the greyhound world for the next three days.
The traditional festival features the national coursing meeting at Powerstown Park as well as the associated feast of racing at the local track.
Thousands of supporters will flock to the town from all corners of the globe for this 86th annual gathering. The Boylesports.com Derby and the Greyhound & Petworld Oaks will be the major prizes on offer and there has been the usual plethora of gambles in the build-up.
Indeed, we approach the meeting with two very hot favourites. Derby Pines, a dog trained by Ken O'Neill for Brendan Keogh, has been all the rage in the Derby betting. There has been a host of stories regarding this dog's preparation, but hard cash has forced him into being the 6/1 favourite with the sponsors.
Mind you, Derby Pines has not come up with the easiest of draws and there has also been very strong support for the likes of Richard Keenan's Handball Henry, Terry Corden's Tynwald Stuart, Marie Field's Kyle Ranger and Brendan Duffy's Central Creator. The winner is likely to come from this quintet.
Clonmel maestro Brendan Matthews has a fancied Derby contender in Newry Legend, but he also has the 5/1 favourite for the Oaks in the form of Gadget Girl. She was an early qualifier at Castleisland and hasn't been seen since.
However, those that saw her destroy her rivals at that Kerry meeting were hugely impressed.
Kerry folk would also be well acquainted of the credentials of the Lixnaw qualifier Call Her Now. She went on to win the Corn na Feile at Abbeyfeale in sizzling fashion and has been all the rage in the past couple of days. Call Her Now is an 11/2 second favourite with Boylesports.
These two bitches would meet in the semi-final if they survive that far, but the winner of that potential clash should go on to ultimate honours.
In the other half, Loud Music will be popular with the punters. She really impressed at Knockgraffon, where she had to be withdrawn from the semi-final but then turned on the style when earning her ticket at Borrisoleigh. She can emerge best from the bottom at the main expense of Lucan Princess and Taka Dawn.
Coursing commences this morning at 11.30 and will start at the same time each day. There will be racing each night at the local track commencing at 7.30.