There is nearly €100,000 on offer at Dundalk this evening, which is just one of a number of reasons why the track remains so popular. There are even two runners from England tonight, with Richard Fahey, who was brought up just along the coast in Clogherhead, running Charming Kid (8pm) and The Right Choice (8:30pm).
Once again, we have the very popular thoughts of Peter Kingston on tonight’s card.
The 5-year-old, Pat Martin-trained mare hasn’t won since June 2017 but races off a career-low mark this evening in the 5.30pm.
Before Christmas Steelyeyed raced for the first time on the flat in nearly a half-a-year but wasn’t disgraced. Over 10 furlongs she was beaten 4 lengths, staying on at the line.
She can’t get any help from the handicapper as the Duke of Marmalade filly is already racing off basement mark, but does get the aid of Alan Persse tonight claiming 7 pounds. Drawn 14 is a big negative but the price more than compensates.
Steelyeyed only has two wins to her name but they were off handicap marks much higher than today’s. I always felt she acquitted herself well at Dundalk early in her career and it’s not ridiculous to think she may get involved at a big price.
Front Runners Often Misunderstood
Sharjah was well backed a fortnight ago when the trainer’s son Andrew Slattery was aboard and positive tactics were re-applied. From stall 10, the Dundalk legend went a bit quick and paid for it in the late stages, finishing a tame 5th, beaten 6 lengths. He separated two fancied runners that night and can be easily forgiven for running out of energy late on.
Sharjah can get the fractions right tonight from a better stall and make it a remarkable 10 course wins.
Horses making late headway are rarely missed by the market. Front runners, though, don’t catch the eye as much when weakening late on. Sharjah showed plenty enough in my opinion last time out and gets the benefit of a 3-pounds drop by the handicapper.
The 6pm is run over ten furlongs tonight, the 9 year old is plenty versatile to handle a drop in trip. I just hope he’s not harried early for the lead and can be efficient with his effort.
Master and apprentice😅 pic.twitter.com/yBJMKBpknZ
— Andrew Slattery (@AndrewSlattery7) December 8, 2018
Timed to Perfection
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the selection in the 6.30pm requires a patient ride and to be produced with a challenge as late as possible.
Gougane Barra for leading Dundalk trainer Michael Halford didn’t get an ideal trip here on his last start when wide with little cover early on and ridden prominently. It was a strange ride but the jockey was probably left with little option, and in fairness to Ross Coakley, he tries things and that can only be commended.
Shane Foley takes over tonight and starts from stall 10. That isn’t an issue as I’d be fairly positive he’ll be held up for cover. Two starts ago Gougane Barra was a big eye-catcher: travelling real well, meeting trouble and finishing best of the field late to be a never-nearer fourth.
He left stablemate and subsequent winner La Novia back in 5th that night in September, and she won off 7 pounds higher last week. I don’t doubt Gougane Barra’s ability, but putting it all together for the quirky 5-year-old has been the problem. He looks a fair price tonight to break an overdue maiden tag however.
If given a patient ride, the 4 places on offer in this race with Bar One Racing makes him all-the-more appealing as an each-way play.
6.00 Sharjah 12/1
6.30 Gougane Barra 13/2