It is the final meeting of 2019 at Dundalk Stadium and, as ever, Alan Marron, is back to mark your card.
He remains in remarkably good form, having given eleven winners from his last 23 selections.
Friday’s meeting is the last one at Dundalk in 2019. As such , the Trainer and Jockey Championships for 2019 will be determined on the night.
In the Trainers’ Championship, Joseph O’Brien leads with 23 winners, followed by Michael Halford (20) and Ado McGuinness (19).
In the Jockeys’ Championship, Colin Keane leads Ronan Whelan 27-25.
All five are involved in tonight’s card.
There will also be extra-place races available on the meeting
4.45 IRISH STALLION FARMS EBF RACE (PLUS 10 RACE) (2yo) Winner €11,820 11 runners 5f Standard RTV
Joseph O’Brien has a very interesting runner here in BOMBSHELL, who was very well backed on debut before looking very green and subsequently finishing down the field behind Sampers Seven trained by Michael Halford.
She was obviously showing plenty at home and, with the tongue-tie applied for the first time, I would be happy enough to give her another chance here.
She could be plenty of value considering how slowly she started the last day and, if she can be quicker away from the gates, she looks like being a main contender.
She has a decent berth in stall three and that can get her a nice position early.
5.15 HANDICAP (3yo+) Winner €6,797 14 runners 7f Standard RTV
This race looks weaker than the race ANGELS contended on her last run, where she was a very creditable fourth behind Geological.
Angels was running in a first-time visor that day and, for some reason, that looks to have been discarded this time around for cheek-pieces.
When you watch back the replay of that race you can see Angels travelling well from off the pace then keeping on without threatening the winner close home. She is nicely drawn here and, off the same handicap mark of 73 and with Colin Keane booked, I can see her going very close.
Colin Keane’s last mount for Johnny Murtagh was Distant Vista and he was a winner so, hopefully, Angels can be the same.
5.45 IRISH STALLION FARMS EBF MAIDEN (PLUS 10 RACE) (DIV I) (2yo) Winner €8,865 14 runners 7f Standard RTV
On paper, this race on paper looks a potential match between HIEROGLYPHIC and Homecoming, who renew rivalry after finishing second and third, respectively, behind Dark Vader on their last run.
Michael Halford looks to have picked a very good race for Hieroglyphic to break her maiden as it looks like she can improve off the back of two very decent efforts at Dundalk.
There shouldn’t be much between them but I think Hieroglyphic has the slight edge and should be successful here.
6.15 IRISH STALLION FARMS EBF MAIDEN (PLUS 10 RACE) (DIV II) (2yo) Winner €8,865 14 runners 7f Standard RTV
It could be a quick double for Michael Halford on the card with BALMARI, who is progressing nicely and should be able to break his maiden here at the fourth attempt.
He was second to Prince Of Naples last time out when he tried to make all the running and got caught close home. The third horse, Whoareyouanyway, trained by Ger Lyons, has since franked the form by winning a nursery carrying 10st2lbs so Balmari should go very close here on the back of that boost.
He looks the pace angle here and, if Ronan Whelan can adopt a handy position, he could be very hard to pass.
6.45 CROWNE PLAZA LEADING JOCKEY & TRAINER AWARDS 2019 HANDICAP (3yo+) Winner €14,750 12 runners 7f Standard RTV
The weight allowance here might make all the difference for SHE’S A BABE but it will be tough for a three-year-old filly to beat older horses.
She improved over a mile last time out when fourth behind Freescape trained by David Marnane. She’s A Babe drops back in trip here and she has also been dropped a pound in the weights so I would expect a big run.
She might find it a little bit easier to travel over seven furlongs here and stay on close home and nab them all late.
Solid each-way chance.
7.15 CROWNE PLAZA RACE & STAY MAIDEN (3yo+) Winner €7,092 14 runners 1m Standard RTV
ANNIE B looks a very interesting runner for the team of Joesph O’Brien and Gary Halpin following a very respectable run last week over course and distance. She will no doubt find improvement off the back of that run and should go very close.
She is likely to be favourite here and, in terms of her form, she will be very hard to beat. She did all her best work in the closing stages last time out over seven furlongs and steps up to a mile here.
7.45 DUNDALK STADIUM – LIGHT UP YOUR NIGHT HANDICAP (3yo+) Winner €14,750 13 runners 1m2f150y Standard RTV
BREAKING STORY is somewhat of a speculative selection here but looks the value against Charcor, with whom he has a nice swing in the weights following their run in recent weeks. Breaking Story was coming off the back of a month off before that run and was travelling well when short of room and squeezed up. He ran on into fourth but never troubled the leaders.
The handicapper has left him on the same mark of 86 here and he looks solid each-way value. He is very lightly raced and should have plenty of improvement to come as he grows into his frame.
He looks solid each-way value here.
8.15 DUNDALK STADIUM RACING RETURNS FRIDAY 3RD JANUARY 2020 HANDICAP (3yo+ 45-65) Winner €5,910 14 runners
FOLLOWME FOLLOWYOU looks a very interesting runner off a mark of 55 based on a fourth-placed finish behind The Lady’s Bid at Navan last-time out.
The handicapper has left his mark unchanged for his all-weather debut and the booking of Declan Mc Donagh suggests that connections have high hopes.
He stayed on steadily at Navan, which suggests that the 1m 2.5f around Dundalk should be perfect.
This filly was formerly trained by Mark Johnston in the UK and she looks like she will be hard to keep out of the frame here.