With UK racing on hold while the BHA get a handle on an outbreak of Equine Influenza within some training establishments, All-Weather action in Dundalk makes for an eerily quiet Friday on the horse racing front. At such a key point of the turf season, we can only hope this serious issue can be contained swiftly and with minimal harm to our equine friends. Luckily, Irish racing is unaffected and action at the Co. Louth venue gets going at 5pm, so we might as well try and find a winner or two…
YUFTEN has not been seen on the track since justifying strong market support on his stable debut for John Feane here in November, but he stands out like a sore thumb in the opening claimer against an ordinary bunch, including a second favourite he comfortably beat last time out. He’s conceding weight to most here but the has quality to score comfortably if reproducing his recent form here back over seven furlongs.
A 5.30pm Apprentice Handicap, also over seven furlongs, is an altogether more open contest. John Feane’s Billyfairplay has a top chance on form and is close to the head of the betting, I’m just not sure how effective he’ll be up in trip and there’s little room for error on a mark of 74. Victorious Secret arrives on a course and distance hat-trick and is respected, while her form ties in closely with Nisior Donn who also has clear place claims. The one I’ll take a chance on is FASHAAR, who ran a promising second at Wolverhampton last Summer and looks nicely handicapped for a return on a mark of 71 for the in-form Anthony McCann stable. He remains lightly raced in the scheme of things and there could be improvement to come.
Next up is the 6.00pm, where Joseph O’Brien’s COLFER ME is another warm order, having improved notably well through his last three starts. An RPR of 94 and a Topspeed figure of 94 here over a mile last month is the best form in the race and he should have the beating of the lesser experienced Sky Seven and stablemate Numerian.
O’Brien is also responsible for the favourite in the 6.30pm handicap over a mile, where The Game Of Light looks to build on a promising early profile against some experienced rivals here. Gougane Barra is a big threat, coming here on a hat-trick of wins at the track off a nice weight, but I’ll take a flyer on double figured priced runner WAITAKI. This mare could probably do with a little help from the handicapper, but she has been knocking on the door of late, knows her way around here, isn’t too far off on the form and speed figures and could give her 7lb claimer a fun spin.
The 6f maiden at 7.00pm is a trappy contest between the market leaders, but it’s a good opportunity for Cityman to get a win on the board after clocking a good speed figure here last time out. This is an easier assignment and the 3yo should go well under Ben Coen.
The 7.30pm has no real betting shape to it as a seven runner race over two miles, while the final two races are two divisions of the same tough handicap over 1m4f. No strong opinions in these, but Sleepy Head and Chaparral Dream would add a fair bit of weight to a fun multiple for the evening. If pushed for a “Best Bet” at Dundalk, I’d probably suggest Cityman in the maiden…
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Odds are provided at time of writing, please check your betslip to confirm they have not changed before betting.