The Show Must Go On

Peter Kingston suggests giving Equine Flu the old one-two tonight at Dundalk.

That is the Spirit

Not in relation to keeping the show on the road but my selection in the first at Dundalk. Adjusted ratings after taking the claiming price into account are as follows (not including fillies & mares allowance); That is the Spirit 97, Yuften 95, Best Not Argue 93, Hasselnott 91, Reckeless Lad 85, Sharp Defence 84 and 77 or lower the rest.

That is the Spirit is a free going front runner of Richard O’Brien’s that hasn’t done anything of note since a win in June off a mark of 90 at Gowran Park. Drawn in stall 3, he has a chance to lead without much pressure. Hopefully 79 days since running might freshen him up and Ross Coakley takes off a valuable 3 pounds. The 8 year old gelding has a 15 pounds swing since meeting Yuften last time out. He didn’t wear a tongue tie last twice and it is back on this evening.

Of the other’s Yuften has a big chance but looks too short. He was a non runner here on the 11th of January when lame. Like most claimers, this one is made up of underachievers, problem horses and ungenuine types. Yuften was very good in winning last time out on first run for John Feane, but is 13 pounds worse off with the likes of Hasselnott.

Hasselnott has a fair chance. He gave Reckless Lad 7 pounds on the 21st of November and now receives 2 pounds. Haselnott also has a big pull with the favourite. It’s hard to imagine anything other than regression for Best Not Argue coming from Joseph O’Brien’s. Reckless Lad is solid but has a bit to find on ratings. Sharp Defence has a squeak but first run in a while is a concern. That is the Spirit and Hasselnott look a bit of value in the 5pm.

Fair Play Billy are paying an extra place on the 5.30pm, 1/5th odds 4 places. Tynamite looks over-priced but is unlikely to get in as 2nd reserve, a drop back to 7 furlongs is ideal for the keen Marnane trained gelding.

My selection is blindingly obvious, but sometimes this is the best way. Billyfairplay has risen 28 pounds for John  Feane and Dundalk Bay Sea Foods Ltd. Why are you joining the party when it is all but over I hear you ask. Well I’ve always thought 7 furlongs would suit the 5 year old. He hits a flat spot mid race and really hits the line hard. On December 14th it all came together for him, a strongly run 6 furlongs bringing out an astonishing 8.5 length win. Mark Gallagher ought to have taken a pull, probably cost him a few more wins.

But the opposition here are lacking. There is a lot to be said for an in-form horse at this time of year. I don’t expect this horse will be well handicapped against summer types in a couple of months, but for now he may oblige again. Andrew Slattery takes off 4 pounds and Tribal Path should make the pace a fair one to follow. Kasbah is a big danger but the rest of the field don’t look a great bunch.

Valentines Not Far Away

The 6.30pm is a real process of elimination. Aussie Valentine having a pipe opener for the Lincoln and a young inexperienced jockey, surely not, but he is the one I reckon. The 8 year old (thought he was even older!) has by far the most class and best form in the race and a win back in October isn’t all that long ago.

The Game of Life looks horribly short. He looked awkward in the finish last time out but I get the Joseph O’Brien factor, he’d win with the stable cat and this horse is unexposed. Gougane Barra was a winning selection here on the 18th of January but he hangs fire in the finish and neither is straight-forward and has now gone up 16 pounds for two wins. Twenty Minutes is respected but may fall just short, Sevenleft and Koybig just aren’t in top form currently and would need to improve. Grace Rafaela is interesting first time for James Ryan who’s had plenty of success at Dundalk but is a stretch. Waitaki is an inconsistent hold up type who’s hard to catch right.

Daire Davis will hopefully keep it simple on the legend that is Aussie Valentine and he looks over-priced in this mile handicap. Hopefully he’s fit enough but has run well off a break in the past.

Man Power

483 days since Man Power ran. It’s a big ask but I often think the longer the layoff the more ready the horse is as trainer’s wouldn’t risk them otherwise. Many of the runners in the 7pm maiden are fairly exposed. Man Power has the best piece of form in the book when 2nd to Andesh here in October 2017. The first, third and fourth all went on to be rated in the high 80’s and 90’s afterwards.

Royal Court, Cityman and Libras Power look exposed at this stage and vulnerable. Lewandowski shaped well first time out behind Sir Mark Prescott’s winner a fortnight ago and it’s reasonable to expect improvement to hit the frame. Man Power looks a win only proposition, he could run well or terrible and unlikely to be in between after so long off the track. At the prices I’m willing to chance the former.

No Need to be Rash

Rashaan is an intriguing runner in the 7.30pm, a race he won 2 years ago. On ratings he should win but it’s been a while since he ran on the flat. Two things to watch out for is him behaving at the stalls and consenting to race and not to be worried by the famous flat spots he hits in his races, he finds bundles of the bridle. An in-running hero! At 6/4 though I’m willing just to watch him.

Guaranteed Prices on Singles and Multiples at Dundalk inc 3 Extra Place Races

Sleepy Head

Fairly boring choice but Pat Flynn’s mare looks unlucky to have ran into three really well handicapped horses this winter; Lady de Vesci, Shadow Seven and Alhajjaj. Sleepy Head remains on the same mark despite this and is well drawn tonight in 4 with the excellent Ben Coen claiming 5 pounds off. are paying an extra place again here and even though Sleepy Head is shorter than your average each way price, she looks likely to be heavily involved and hopefully victorious. Include her in each way bets in the 8pm, it’s hard to envisage her out of the frame.

Come On!

Sleepy Head may be a good indicator to the chances of Foza in the last. They faced each other last time out and Foza finished in 4th, 3.5 lengths behind Sleepy Head. The 2nd division of this 12 furlong handicap to conclude the card at 8.30pm looks considerably weaker. A completely unreliable favourite in Chaparral Dream who’s ridden patiently for luck in running, Trump Card who maybe should be fav but whose last three runs haven’t inspired and an out of sorts Sharjah head the betting.

Foza is very limited but may get involved here after recent signs of ability and two respectable efforts in handicaps so far, that were better than this. An extra place again in the last, the 6 year old mare Foza looks a fair price to hit the frame. Foza means come on in Italian, easy to shout at the tv so.


That is the Spirit 5.00pm 9/1

Billyfairplay 5.30pm 7/2

Aussie Valentine 6.30pm 11/1

Man Power 7.00pm  4/1

Sleepy Head 8pm 11/4

Foza 8.30pm 10/1


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*Odds were correct at time of publishing the article