Kingsmill Sky a champion in the making
It's the time of year when the search is on for the potential champions of the following year and last Sunday's action was extremely informative from that perspective.
The final of the Gain Future Champion Unraced at Enniscorthy and the semi-finals of the Munster Puppy Cup at Clonmel each highlighted a few puppies with enormous potential and the likelihood is that a couple of them will go on to glory.
Right through the Enniscorthy event two pups stood out from the rest and so it proved again in the final.
Sold by Aidan Roche during the event and now handled by Robert Gleeson, Kingsmill Sky took full advantage of his favourable draw in six to win the €5,000 prize and is clearly a dog that should benefit from a move to Shelbourne Park.
But Rosemary Price's Deanridge Pennys ran a huge race in defeat, despite being beaten by four lengths in 29.11. He had no run as he was crowded at the start and baulked on the bend before powering home to snatch second place on the line.
Two brilliant performances were served up at Clonmel in the semi-finals of the Puppy Cup by Graham Holland-trained puppies. The eye-catcher was Sidarian Blaze which had looked a real prospect on his debut in the first round and now stepped up in a major manner.
He wasn't the best away but the puppy displayed top early pace to lead into the bend and then drew clear to win by five lengths from Jacks Ace in 28.49. There has to be improvement to come from this February youngster.
His kennel companion Cuil Cool is a much more exposed sort and won the Puppy Derby Plate at Harold's Cross a couple of weeks back. He was battling for third place down the back as the favourite Fiery Splendour was hitting the front but then produced a terrific burst of pace which carried him to the front between bends and he powered up the straight to win in 28.60. He'll absolutely love the 550 yards journey in next year's feature events.
ST LEGER DRAW
The opening-round action in the Kerry Agribusiness Irish St Leger only served to make the classic even more open than it had looked before the first round.
The bookies haven't reacted to the first-round action but the one dog that has been cut is the Frances O'Donnell-trained Skywalker Farloe which has come up with a favourable draw in Heat 6.
Roxholme Bully didn't sparkle on Saturday but is entitled to another chance. He has a tough task in Heat 7 where he will have early-paced Derby finalist Cabra Buck and heat winners Gavins Legacy and Farloe Trent among his rivals.
One dog that continues to be very unlucky with the trap draw is Tyrur Sugar Ray which, for an inside-loving tracker, has been granted a slot in five for the second week on the trot. It is an interesting competition but I suspect trap draws are going to play a huge role before the prizes are decided.