The past week or so has been a bit of a washout and I for one have had just about enough of the recent weather! But Spring is in the air this fine Friday and hopefully we can end it with a winner or three at Dundalk this evening, for their interesting and competitive seven race card of All-Weather action.
6:00pm Irish Stallion Farms EBF Median Auction Maiden
With €16,000 on offer for the opening 5f contest, this is a good little opportunity for the juveniles forward enough to take their chance. One of three fillies in the field and the only one seemingly fancied, PJ Prendergast’s Cedars Of Lebanon is worthy of mention under the in-form Chris Hayes. It’ll also be interesting to see what Impulse Power and the sharply bred Offline are capable of first time out. The 2yo really catching the eye however is Willie McCreery’s TARRZAN, representing a yard already on the juvenile scoreboard with Jungle Jane here a week ago. His sire Bungle Inthejungle was a very fast horse in his early days and despite a more stamina laden dam side, the colt is unlikely to be short of match practice on debut.
6:30pm Connolly Kelly Accountants Handicap (45-65)
An interesting 12-runner 5f sprint, where 4 or 5 look to hold the most pressing claims. Glenmore and Blastofmagic head the market and are difficult to split on their run here last month, Glenmore was well supported that day and is 3lb better off here. Pillar has fair each place claims on his 3rd in the same race, but he does find it very difficult to get his head in front; similar can be said of Danz Gift, who is around the right price at 5/1. At three clicks bigger on 8/1, I like the chances of HAQEEBA under Declan McDonagh, who has long been one of my favourite Irish flat jockeys. His mount is a solid mare who ran well to be 3rd in a 65-88 handicap here last time out off a low weight. But she is no stranger to carrying big weights to victory having made all in a good time at Bellewstown carrying 9st 10lb last summer. She is on a fair mark of 64 and should run her race. At double figure odds, Lavinuela could give a sound account of herself off 8st 8lb.
7:00pm Wednesday Racing 11th & 18th April At Dundalk Rated Race
Another nice prize of €17,000 on offer for this 7f contest containing a notable and progressive 3yos. At this time of year, recent match practice is often a deciding factor and it is also notable that the in-form WAR HERO is the only horse coming into the 12-runner contest with a run this year. PJ Prendergast isn’t obviously in the best of form just now, but he’s had a few horses go off at big prices and run very well and after a quiet week or so, he runs two well fancied horses this evening (also the aforementioned Cedars Of Lebanon at 6pm). War Hero is a consistent sort who stays a mile but is well suited to 7f. Tactics will be interesting here and whoever gets it right could well land the spoils, but I’m hopeful War Hero can put his recent efforts to good use. Militry Decoration and Andesh are the elephants in the room.
7:30pm D Hotel Handicap
Michael Halford’s Ambassadorial runs in the Godolphin colours for a good quality handicap over 7f here and is likely to be the favourite as a lightly-raced runner in the fancy blue silks, but he’s up against it after a year off from his mark of 98. It won’t be easy for the top weight to give 8lb & rising to his 12 rivals, especially since all of them are more experience than he is. With a feather weight of 8st 5lb on the back of a good win over 6f here last time out, SILK CRAVAT is improving at the right time and a 6lb rise is fair given how well the Kyllachy gelding travelled and ran on strongly to the line on 23rd of March. The step up to 7f should be fine and the 5yo has a respectable 2-2-6 record at Dundalk. At bigger prices, you could have an each-way saver on ATLAS on a mark of 81, given the handicapper has dropped the horse a handy 5lb since his last run. He stays well and could be running on strongly late on if they go hard up front.
8:00pm Sevens.ie Cabs & Coaches Rentals Handicap (45-65)
Perhaps the toughest race on the card to predict, as any one of ten horses could come out on top over the Dundalk mile distance. BOXER DUNFORD looks pretty solid at the head of the market having only gone up 1lb after a good 2nd over 7f last month. He is steadily progressive now and gets on well with regular pilot Ross Coakly, who has ridden the 5yo to both his career wins thus far. At a much bigger price, the 3yo Innamorare could run well under Conor Hoban if building on a career-best effort last time out. She likes to be held up, so watch out for her looking for the gaps late on.
8:30pm LMFM Family Fun Day Sunday 6th May Handicap
This 1m4f contest will take a bit more stamina to win than previous races on the card and COMMANDER WON catches the eye on the back of a consistent run of placed efforts in three starts of late. Gunned down by Lucent Dream the last day, he can go close this time if getting the fractions right from stall 1. Financial Upgrade has a nice profile and looks the horse to beat, while the returning Ancient Sands must also enter calculations under the Champion jockey Colin Keane.
9:00pm Print Express Handicap (45-70)
Denis Hogan’s Nulife is a likely pace-setter and indeed winner of the closing 1m2f handicap, but up 5lb from his win here in March, he could be vulnerable to a wealth of closers tonight if adopting similar tactics. Joint top-weight DUKE OF WASHINGTON looks to be a sound middle distance performer in the making and can definitely take a step forward from his 2nd to Lucent Dream last time out. He comes out of stall 14 so will have to exercise some patience and secure a decent early position, but many races at Dundalk can develop down the outside in the latter stages and hopefully this lightly-raced 5yo can negotiate a safe passage to keep him in the firing line. The veteran 10yo Six Silver Lane remains in very consistent form, so don’t discount a big run from him either.
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