'Witches' aims to strike blow for the females
In the previous three runnings of the Kirby Memorial Puppy Stake at Limerick no bitch has managed to reach the final. That will become a thing of the past tomorrow when Edel Twomey’s Witches Belle occupies trap three with a serious chance of winning the €80,000 prize.
It wouldn’t be a first time for Witches Belle to turn over the dogs as she sprang a 10/1 surprise when winning the Joe Dunne Memorial at Shelbourne in January when she had three of tomorrow’s rivals behind her, Riverside Oscar, Droopys Roddick and Clares Rocket.
Liam Twomey bought the bitch as a present for his wife Edel after she had given birth to their little girl Aisling and it proved to be quite a present! The Midleton-based breeder says: “We really bought her with breeding in mind but she has turned out really well. Everything has gone according to plan at Limerick and we are reasonably happy with the draw in trap four.”
Liam also bought another bitch from Tom Lennon in the same deal, Witches Sofia, and she won at Youghal on Monday. Perhaps that’s an omen for Witches Belle tomorrow night?
The big race this evening is the final of the Frightful Flash Kennels McCalmont Cup at Kilkenny and a really close affair is predicted. John Mitchell has quoted Lone Scolari at 4/5 but that would appear very tight for a dog that was caught last week by Doctor Zhivago after enjoying a sizeable lead. I will nominate Skywalker Malard (9.12) as a value bet.
Also tonight the semi-finals of the John & Mary Dowling Memorial 570 will be run at Tralee and the banker should be Liam Dowling’s Anopheles (9.57). The winner of last year’s Dublin Coach Juvenile Derby looked right at home over the 570 distance last week and he can prove too good for Killeacle Tammy which is trained by Liam’s nephew Sean.
The other heat features another Dowling runner Paradise Simona but Ger Nugent’s Greenane Rocco (10.12) looks the part here.
‘Raffa’ out of Laurels
The Irish Independent Irish Laurels at Curraheen Park is a few months away yet but it has been confirmed that last year’s winner Midtown Raffa will not be defending his title.
Moss O’Connor’s charge subsequently sustained a very serious leg injury in the final of the Doire Construction Champion Stakes at Shelbourne.
O’Connor hadn’t given up on bringing him back this year but has had to admit defeat and the dog has been retired to stud with Jerry O’Sullivan in Abbeyfeale.
But now bound for the Laurels is Quietly which was not as badly injured last Saturday in Limerick’s Treaty Cup final as originally feared.
The dog had an X-ray which has confirmed that he has a very bad sprained wrist which will necessitate a lay-off of six to eight weeks. Reilly said yesterday: “He has a great record at Curraheen and we will aim to get him back for the Laurels.”