Plenty of Guts and Glory on show at Glin coursing
THE Desmond Cup meeting at Glin is always one of the highlights of the coursing season and this year’s renewal didn’t disappoint, producing two excellent trial stake winners and a vintage performance from Watchman in the feature event.
Ballymac Enya (Coolavanny Bingo/ Ballymac Town) was an emphatic winner of the Oaks ticket. Priced at 5/1 prior to coursing, the Liam Dowling trained May pup set out her stall early with a convincing win over Portinard Walk. The manner of her success saw her odds fall to 7/4. Comfortable successes over Chatterbox Fray and Marshals Amelia propelled the winner into a semi-final pairing against the Brendan Matthews trained Vanessa. Ballymac Enya however dominated the course and easily progressed to the final by a three-length winning margin.
The final was an all Kerry affair with Ballymac Enya on the red collar against the long odds favourite Oh Wow on the white for Tarbert trainer John Flynn. Both bitches were evenly matched on their respective semi-final performances and it was Oh Wow who showed in front leaving slips. However, her advantage was to be short lived, as Ballymac Enya showed terrific early dash to take control of the buckle and she extended her advantage on the rising ground to almost three lengths at the opening turn.
While John Flynn may have struck the crossbar in the Oaks qualifier, he certainly struck gold in the Derby equivalent with his impressive home-bred Guts And Glory (Razor Ashmore/ Upup And Away). Well supported in the long odds book, the February pup really looked the part over the opening two days of competition and was as short as 1/3 for success by finals day. He was always in control of his semi-final buckle against Business Card and ran out a length winner on the top of the field.
The remaining semi-final was a bye for Tilford Tornado following the withdrawal of the impressive Ballymac Whisper due to injury.
The deciding course was a one-sided affair, Guts And Glory displayed tremendous early foot to open an early advantage and he extended his lead with every stride through to the opening score to land a six-length victory. The winner looks a really impressive sort and will be on many short-lists for Classic success.
Watchman kicked off his season on the best possible fashion when he claimed the Desmond Cup for owners Basil and Bernie Holian. Having landed the coveted Irish Cup at Patrickswell on the final weekend of last season, the eyes of the coursing world were firmly fixed on the Kevin Barry trained runner last weekend and he certainly didn’t disappoint. He posted some blistering clocks en route to the final, which incidentally was a repeat of last year’s Irish Cup decider. The result, however, remained the same, as Watchman showed superior pace to his rival to run out a comfortable winner. The winner is a real class act and is without doubt the leading player in this season’s All Age events.
The surprise result of the day came in the All Age Bitch Stake when the Michael Spillane trained Lochbo Stacey (Lochbo Charlie/ Lochbo Pearl) landed the spoils. She progressed to the final courtesy of a bye in the penultimate round following the withdrawal of Silent Wonder who fell victim to a hard hunt following her quarter-final success.
The West Cork owned Lochbo Stacey took on last season’s Oaks heroine Foxhollow Lady in the final course. The latter surrendered plenty of her early ground to her rival and left herself a mountain climb as the course approached halfway. Lochbo Stacey stayed on gamely on the testing incline and took the flag comfortably by two lengths.
The action moves to Ballyheigue next weekend whilst the meeting at the Regional will also see many Kerry owned runners in the hunt for honours.
Denis Holly sponsor presenting the trophy to the Flynn family from Tarbert after winning the dog trial stake with Guts and Glory at Glin. Photo by Moss Joe Browne