As ever, Dundalk’s card on Friday night holds plenty of interest and, with 195 entries for seven races, we are looking at this being extended to eight contests, with the first of them due off at 5pm.
A look at the five-day entries produced the following observations:
Hazran, who is closely related to dual Derby winner, Harzand, is entered for the Irishinjuredjockeys.com Handicap on what will his first flat run for Eugene O’Sullivan following his 52,000-guineas purchase out of Michael Halford’s stable
In the same race, Magi Gal will bid to follow up her course-and-distance win on January 3rd for trainer John McConnell, who has had three winners at the first two Dundalk meetings of the year so far.
Ahead of Friday’s card, John had had five winners from eleven runners in 2020 and had made ten entries for Dundalk on Friday at the five-day stage.
In the Crowne Plaza Race & Stay Handicap, Able Jack will bid to make it a quick hat-trick of wins at Dundalk for trainer Pat Murphy.
In the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Maiden, Joseph O’Brien has entered three fillies, including newcomers Juliet Rose, who is by Camelot – who has a winner on each of the first two cards at Dundalk in 2020 – and closely related to Group 2 and 3 winner Subway Dancer, and Line Judge, who is owned by Qatar Racing and is by Dawn Approach and her maternal grandmother won at Group or Grade 3 level in England and the USA.
Another possible runner, and another debutante, is Michael Halford’s Orchid Gardens, who is owned by Wendy O’Leary and is a half-sister to the Group 1 Prix de l’Abbaye winner Wizz Kid.
Dark Vader, who looked good when winning his maiden over seven furlongs at Dundalk on November 29th (the second and the fifth from the race have won since) before running fourth in what looked a good two-year-old race over a mile, also at Dundalk, on December 18th, looks set to run in the Bet On The Best Night Out At Dundalk Stadium Race.
The winner when he finished fourth was Choice Of Mine, who holds the Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas entry. Friday’s trip of six furlongs might suit Dark Vader better than on that occasion.
He is trained by Joseph O’Brien, as is a possible debutante in the race, Pip’s Eagle, who is by Gleneagles out of the Group 1 Haydock Sprint Cup winner, Pipalong, so has a beautiful pedigree.
The finale, the Crowne Plaza Race & Stay Handicap, could see the rejuvenated Red Cymbal step up to six furlongs for the first time since joining trainer Anthony McCann, a trip that clearly suits Arcanears, a possible opponent on Friday who finished second to Red Cymbal over five furlongs at Dundalk last-time out. A rematch over tonight’s longer trip would set up a fascinating clash.
Also among the initial entry is Togoville, an 11-time Dundalk winner, which is a record on Dundalk’s all-weather surface. It was great to see him back in action on January 3rd following a ten-month break. Like Red Cymbal, he is trained by Anthony McCann.
With eight races, around €100,000 in prize-money and a good mixture of competition and quality looking highly likely, another good night of racing looks assured at Dundalk on Friday January 17th. First race, 5pm.