Preview of Dundalk Races on Friday March 20th.
First race, 1:30pm.
Racing continues in Ireland with government backing under strict regulations and protocols given the outbreak of Covid-19. For the foreseeable future, a maximum of one meeting will take place in Ireland each day and all meetings staged must take place in the afternoon.
This situation will, of course, be monitored extremely closely as the nation pulls together to combat and control as fully, effectively and safely as possible the impact of the virus.
At all times, the health and safety of everyone are the main priorities.
Racing will be staged at this time ‘behind closed doors’ – that is, without members of the paying public in attendance.
1:30pm – Winter Series Awards Day Saturday 4th April Apprentice H’cap, 4yo+ 45-65, 8f, €10,000
- Sir Danilo – He won a maiden here in March 2018 and has had only one run since, when fifth to Kinch, beaten 3.25 lengths, over c/d on March 6th from today’s rating, which was a decent effort given his absence. He is now four pounds better off at the weights with Kinch, who had been threatening to win a race of this nature for a while and it will be interesting to see how he copes with his four-pound rise in the ratings. He is owned by Glasgow Celtic footballer Jonny Hayes.
- Kinch – see Sir Danilo
- Distant Mirage – She finished 13th of 14 here last Friday over 7f following a 114-day absence. She is now rated 62 but won a Kempton handicap when rated 66 in Feb of last year so, clearly, she’d have a chance if being able to recapture that form (when with James Tate). Recent runs, though, haven’t been hugely encouraging
- Tennessee Wildcat – Now a 10yo, his best runs of late have come in claimers; he was actually rated 90 when finishing second in a Leopardstown handicap last June but, clearly, his form has declined since then, although he was only beaten 2.25 lengths when ninth in a 7f handicap here last Friday when fitted with a hood for the first time on what was his first run for Johnny Levins
- Casa Romano – He is lightly raced and open to improvement and wasn’t beaten far despite finishing 10th in a 7f handicap here last Friday when fitted with first-time headgear (he finished half-a-length behind Tennessee Wildcat that night and a length behind Tyrconnell, and they meet on the same terms today), Tyrconnell has been knocking at the door from around today’s rating and can’t be ruled out of a good run, but he has been drawnwide. Getting back to Casa Romano: that was his first run for seven months so he’s entitled to be sharper now
- Never Rains – She got penalised for winning a Gowran Park claimer last August and can’t quite get competitive yet from her current rating
- Tyrconnell – See Casa Romano
- Dance Alone – A repeat of his third to Lightning Charlie here two runs ago over 6f when rated 52 (now 51) would bring him into it. He hasn’t been tried too many times over tonight’s trip
- Russian Vine – She showed some promise last July and August but her last three runs have not been so encouraging
- Voyageofdiscovery – Two runs following a break should have got rid of the ring-rust and, based on his best runs between May and August of last year when he was rated higher than he is today, he’d have to be given a chance
- Reverberation – He won over c/d when rated 61 in October 2018 and ran well from 68 in November 2018. He’s now rated 49 and his form has declined; at such a low level, though, he can’t be ruled out of a decent run
- Aishling’s Secret – She was rated 62 in Jan of last year and was returning from a break of 256 days when finishing sixth here behind Adnap on Feb 14th, which wasn’t a bad effort, all things considered. Now rated 47, you can certainly build a case for her, although she has yet to win in 16 attempts
- Crest Of A Wave – He’s had 15 runs and has yet to win but he gives the impression he is well up to winning a race of this nature. A hood is on for the second time in his career today and he ran quite well over 7f here two runs ago in that headgear. It would be dangerous to dismiss his chance, although a wide draw tempers enthusiasm a little
- Fascinating Spirit – He was beaten just half-a-length in a c/d handicap in October when rated 45, the rating he runs from here, so you can build a case for a good run as he races for Thomas O’Connor for the first time
Lady Boomerang – Her best run in the last six months came when fitted with first-time headgear. Recent runs have not been so good but she would hold a chance if managing to recapture her Dundalk form of October 2018 (placed when rated 64, now rated 52)
All The Mollies – She was only beaten half-a-length when fourth over c/d last April and, now rated 45, couldn’t be ruled out of a good run if getting in
The Perch – She won a c/d handicap rated 45 (now 47) in May of last year, but her form since then – flat or jumping – hasn’t matched it
SELECTION: In a race that lacks depth of quality, I could see DANCE ALONE and Voyageofdiscovery running well. I’ll opt for the former, hoping he can last out over this mile trip – Overnight price, 8/1
Prices on the meeting are available via www.baroneracing.com
2pm – Median Auction Race, 3yo, one mile, €15,000
- Aerclub – He beat subsequent dual-winner Dune Of Pilat over course and distance on his debut on November 22nd, his only run so far. Hew rates as promising. His granddam is a French Group 3 winner.
- Flower Garland – She gave Donnacha O’Brien his first winner as a trainer when winning easily over course and distance on Feb 21 and is entitled to build again on that. She holds a Group 3 entry at Naas on March 23rd
- Point Reyes – She won a mile handicap here rated 70 in November on her only try so far at tonight’s trip. Her rating of 78 looks about right so far.
- Strip Light – He finished 26th of 29 on his debut at The Curragh last August and has been gelded since that run. His dam won a Down Royal maiden and was rated in the high 70s at best but her dam has produced five winners. Michael Halford’s runners always have to be respected here and maybe the betting will provide clues as to his chance. His sire is Outstrip, a Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf winner that has made a promising start to his stallion career (his first 2yos ran last year).
- Line Judge – She showed a lot of promise when finishing third here on her debut over seven furlongs and, based on that, looks sure to win races.
- Linda’s Grace – She is by Frankel’s half-brother Morpheus, who has had winners on this surface this year, and is a half-sister to four winners. She will be making her debut here.
SELECTION: In what is a smashing little race, I am finding myself torn between Aerclub and Flower Garland. She won well here last time and, with her Group 3 entry maybe swaying me, I’ll side with FLOWER GARLAND – Overnight price, 2/1
These previews have produced 34 winners from their last 105 selections at Dundalk
2:30pm – Crowne Plaza Dundalk Claiming Race, 4yo+, 7f, €10,000
There is no getting away from Yuften here. He is rated 17 pounds higher than the next highest-rated in the contest, which is his stable companion Tony The Gent, so holds obvious claims at the weights. Yuften has won seven times at Dundalk, with five of those victories coming in claimers.
Tony The Gent holds obvious place claims, as does Pegasus Bridge, a winner here two runs ago, while Northern Surprise hinted at a return to form last time and might also be competitive for a place.
SELECTION: All signs point to another win for YUFTEN – Overnight price 4/9 (from 8/15)
3pm – View Restaurant At Dundalk Stadium Maiden, 3yo, 1m2f150y, €12,000
- Darkest Hour hasn’t shown much in two runs yet but his dam has produced two winners so far and his granddam, Whazzat, won the Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot and has produced six winners. He will race in a tongue-tie for the first time today
- Differentiate hasn’t shown much in three runs yet but steps up in trip today.
- Dutch Admiral has run well in his last two races, including when fourth in a Listed contest here (the Patton Stakes) last time to Crossfirehurricane so represents some solid form. He is a half-brother to a couple of USA Grade 2 winners.
- Falvetti showed some promise in a couple of maidens on turf last summer when with Kieran Cotter. He is now with Shane Duffy and has been gelded since his last run. There are six winners in the second line of his pedigree, including War Room, who won six races here for Shane.
- Figurehead finished eighth of 14 here last November on his debut (made late headway), which came over seven furlongs. He is by the Breeders’ Cup juvenile winner Outstrip (a son of Exceed And Excel) and is out a Grade 1-winning USA mare. Outstrip produced 18 two-year old winners in his first crop last season.
- Presgrave – see Juliet Rose
- Romann has finished last in both starts so far but there are five winners in the second line of his pedigree, including an Australian Group 1 winner.
- Unanswered – Following a break, he showed promise when seventh in a maiden here two weeks ago. He’s a half-brother to two winners of 12 races between them (including a dual-Listed winner) and a full-brother to a winner trained by John Gosden. His dam won the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks. His trainer Dermot Weld has won this race twice in the three years that it has been run. Dermot also runs Haparanda in the race.
- Haparanda – She showed promise when sixth at Galway on her debut in October (subsequently disqualified). She’s a half-sister to three winners, including dual Group 3 winner Hazapour. In the next line of her pedigree are six winners, including dual Derby winner Harzand.
- Juliet Rose – She was just edged out by China’s Storm here last time and immediately jumps off the page as a contender here. Presgrave (like Juliet Rose, trained by Joseph O’Brien) finished sixth in the race (beaten 5 lengths, staying on), on what was his racecourse debut. He is a half-brother to three winners (two of which stayed well) and there are a further eight winners in the second line of his pedigree. He will race wearing blinkers for the first time tonight.
SELECTION: In an interesting race, Dermot Weld’s runners, given his good recent record in the contest, have to be given some thought, but I’m more drawn towards a short list of Dutch Admiral and the selection, JULIET ROSE – Overnight price, evens
Joseph O’Brien has had 73 winners at Dundalk since January 2018, with 14 of them coming this year
3:30pm – Irishinjuredjockeys.com Handicap, 4yo+ 45-65, 1m2f150y, €10,000
- Sevenleft – He hasn’t won since 2016 but, now rated 65, is well handicapped based on his form of last Feb (here over one mile) and June (on turf) rated 77 and 76. He is, though, unproven at tonight’s trip
- Hinemoa – Lightly raced, she showed promise in France in January and February of last year but hasn’t shown much in two runs so far in Ireland, She will, though, be stepping up in trip today
- Tio Esteban – He won over 12 furlongs here when rated 52 on Feb 21 but finished sixth from his new rating of 61 over 12 furlongs here last time so still has it to prove from his new rating in terms of winning
- Followme Followyou – She has yet to win in 14 races but ran very well over c/d when second to a progressive type in Happaugue last time, for which she has been given a three-pound rise in the ratings. That was possibly a bit harsh but she is on an upward curve and a good run cannot be ruled out
- Mithmaar – He’s had just three runs and showed some promise when finishing in a maiden here last time although further improvement will be necessary in order to win today
- Mere Ironmonger – A bumper winner in 2016, he has yet to run in a handicap race so is a bit hard to assess, although his maiden form wouldn’t make him an obvious winner. The betting might say something different
- Angel In The Sky – She has shown some promise in three Dundalk maidens, all of them over one mile, and made late headway in the latest of them. There is evidence of stamina in her pedigree so maybe the step up in trip will help a filly whose great granddam is the Irish 1,000 Guineas winner, Trusted Partner
- Getgo – He won over c/d when rated 62 in March 2018 and is now rated 52 so you can build a good case for him based on that run; however, he lost his way later in the year; there have been small signs of a recovery recently but it’s difficult to gauge just where this will lead
- Roman Warrior – He ran well when second here (rated 54, now 52) over one mile in September and could go well in what will be his first run at beyond that trip
- Global Pass – Following a break, he ran pretty well when stepped up to 12 furlongs for the first time last time and the drop in trip today may well prove beneficial; can’t be ruled out
- Mademoiselle Penny – She’s entirely capable of throwing in a good run, although she’s not the most consistent these days and it’s nearly three years since she won
- Nanafullam – Six unplaced runs so far in her career leave her with something to prove just now
- Early Strike – He has yet to win in 17 races but has finished second or third in three of his last six races from today’s rating so another placed effort not ruled out; his latest run was probably needed
- Wedding Photo – Just one place from 13 runs for her so far (she finished third in maiden here two years ago) but she will be running tonight for Ado McGuinness for the first time; she has a nice pedigree: her granddam has produced three winners and won herself at Group 3 level so a win for her at any point will certainly increase her potential as a broodmare
Stringr – He has a bit to prove based on his seven runs so far
Santorini Sun – She’s not the most consistent but is certainly capable of running into the money from her current rating if on a good day
Aunty Audrey – A turf winner off a rating of 50 (now 46) in Oct 2018 gives some hope and a flat run at Thurles last October wasn’t bad; in terms of overall recent form, though, she couldn’t be a strong fancy to win if getting in
SELECTION: Followyou Followme comes into this on the back of a good run; Sevenleft is on a fair mark if the trip suits; Angel In The Sky should be monitored in the betting; Roman Warrior may improve at today’s trip, and Global Pass and Early Strike are worth some thought, but I will stick with FOLLOWYOU FOLLOWME – Overnight price, 11/4 (from 4/1
Declan McDonogh is the joint-leading jockey in 2020 at Dundalk with 8 winners from 38 rides. Ronan Whelan has 8 winners from 41 rides and Colin Keane, 6 from 31, followed by Billy Lee (5 from 27) and Donagh O’Connor (5 from 31, including 4 from his last 7) – All five ride on today’s card
4pm – Crowne Plaza Dundalk Handicap, 4yo+, 12f, €12,000
- Irradiate – She came good over two miles here when rated 74 in November but has been beaten twice over the same distance from a rating of 82 since, although she was fourth, beaten just 0.75 lengths in a Qualified Riders Handicap here last time. She is worth a try at this shorter trip but still has it to prove in terms of winning from her current rating, although a good run is far from ruled out
- Muzbid – He won over c/d from a rating of 77 on Jan 24 but has been beaten from his revised rating of 81, despite running well, twice since. He’s relatively lightly raced for a 6yo so maybe connections can get a bit more improvement from him – see Guild
- Cautious Approach – She won over c/d when rated 70 on Feb 28 on just her second try at tonight’s trip and was beaten just half-a-length into third when bidding to follow up from her revised rating of 76 a week later. There’s every chance she will go well again. She finished a length ahead of Muzbid when third (in the race already referred to) and they meet on the same terms today – see Guild
- Park Row – Now 10, he’s been a wonderful servant to connections, with six of his eight career wins having come here at Dundalk, the latest in February of last year from a rating of 84 (he arrives here rated 76). He would have needed his latest run (last of 13 to Muzbid) and couldn’t be ruled out if managing to fan the flame of former glories, but that’s what you are banking on
- Malbas – He won a Bellewstown handicap when rated 64 in August but hasn’t been able to back it up in four runs since from his revised rating of 77; he’s now rated 75 but, overall, still has to improve in terms of winning, although he remains lightly raced for his age
- Tonkinese – On what was his first flat run for Joseph O’Brien, he ran well to finish third here over 10.5 furlongs two runs ago and was fancied to run well when stepped up to tonight’s trip last time, but he finished fifth to Cautious Approach, beaten 3.5 lengths, although he is now nine pounds better off at the weights, which should help the cause – see Guild
- Touch Of Gold – She hasn’t run on the flat for 12 months when she finished fourth over c/d to Sheisdiesel when rated 77 and is now rated 71, the rating she won from over c/d in Nov 2018. You can certainly build a case for a good run although she hasn’t raced now for 169 days
- Gougane Barra – Both of his wins here have come over one mile although he stays 10.5f and appears to stay tonight’s trip too. He looks capable of running well from his current rating of 70 although he has to prove he can get his head in front from it (his highest winning rating so far is 64)– but see Guild
- Guild – Two good seconds from today’s rating were followed by a 12th of 14 in a Qualified Riders’ race last time, which can probably be forgiven; he’ll probably be more at home today and a good run for your money is entirely possible. Working on literal c/d form lines using a horse called Jon Ess then Gougane Barra comes out best of a quintet involving Guild, Cautious Approach, Muzbid and Tonkinese, with the other four not separated by much. My own instincts drew me to Cautious Approach but the form book makes it closer than I initially thought it would
- Starlight Red – Lightly raced, she won a mile race at Chepstow for Charlie Hills last year but finished 13th of 14 on her debut for Leanne Breen in Ireland last time following a break of 213 days. She’s a little hard to weigh up and is not fully proven at today’s trip although her breeding – by Sea The Stars out of a Dalakhani mare – suggests that she should be suited by it
- Mandarin Monarch – Six wins from 31 runs (2 from 9 on the all-weather) gives him a pretty good strike-rate although he has finished behind Muzbid and Cautious Approach here in his last two starts
- Nightly Wailing – He won here over two miles when rated 60 (is still rated 60) in April 2018 and has been gelded since his last run. The downside is that he hasn’t run now for 663 days
- Allora Yeats – No wins in 15 starts and would be hard to fancy as the winner based on recent runs
SELECTION: For the reasons given above, I’m slightly flying in the face of the form book but CAUTIOUS APPROACH may still have some improvement to come at today’s trip – Overnight price, 4/1
The track has been riding a little deeper this year which seems to make it more difficult to win when racing from off the pace
4:30pm – Easter Week Racing 15th and 19th April Handicap, 6f, 4yo+, €12,000
- Flarepath – She showed fair form for William Haggas last year over seven furlongs and was having her first run for nearly eight months when unplaced here on March 6th over five furlongs. She should strip fitter now. Formerly owned by The Queen, she cost current connections 26,000 guineas
- Major Power – He arrives here on a fair old roll having won his last three races, all of them over seven furlongs and has been raised six pounds in the ratings for the latest of them. He will need to keep the improvement coming in order to win make it four in a row – See Eacharn
- Misty At Sea – He has shown promise in four maiden runs and enters handicapping rated 72. Time will tell whether or not that is initially on the high side. The runner-up from his latest start had been beaten in a handicap when rated 66 the time before
- Tanseeq – He was rated 86 (now 70) when winning in Britain for William Haggas in 2018 but hasn’t set the world alight yet in three runs for new connections in Ireland following a 659-day break
- Red Cymbal – He won from a rating of 55 here in January and has run well since without winning from his revised rating. Has a wide draw to contend with today
- Poet’s Pride – He came good here over seven furlongs last time and has been raised four pounds in the ratings for that success. The time before that, also over 7f, he finished 1.5 lengths behind Major Power here and a length behind Eacharn and is now seven pounds better off with Major Power but three pounds worse off with Eacharn. His confidence will be at a high and he isn’t short of the pace that will be needed at this trip
- Fit For Function – He’s been running well without winning from his current rating of 67 of late although he did win on turf from a rating of 70 (over 7f) last May. Based on recent runs, though, a place is maybe the best he can hope for
- Eacharn – Twice a course-and-distance winner (from a highest rating of 63, now rated 66), he finished half-a-length behind Major Power over seven furlongs here on Feb 7 when in receipt of three pounds and three lengths behind the same horse over the same trip on Feb 28 when in receipt of seven pounds. Tonight he receives 13 pounds at this shorter trip. You’d be justified in hoping for a good run from him
- Keepthebestsideout – She has shown promise in a light career, including when second in a Sligo handicap in June when rated 63 (the winner subsequently won off a seven-pound higher mark). She’s now rated 60 and would have needed her run here on Feb 21, which came after a seven-month absence. She could go well with cheek-pieces being fitted for the first time
- Wherewithal – He hasn’t shown a huge amount in four runs – two of them for Ralph Beckett in Britain, two for Michael Halford in Ireland – but is beautifully bred, being out of Banks Hill, a three-time Group 1 winner (which makes him closely related to such Group or Grade 1 stars as Dansili, Cacique, Champs Elysees, Heat Haze and Intercontinental) and is lightly raced. He will be having his first run tonight since a gelding operation.
- Hee Haw – He won a five-furlong handicap when rated 67 last Feb and is now rated 56. He would have needed his latest run, which came after a near six-month absence. You can build a case for him although, overall, his last few runs have mainly been modest.
- Iseebreeze – This seems to be her time of year and she ran well in defiance of the adjusted weights and ratings in a claimer here last time. There’s a sense that she is heading back to form but she will have to race from 12 pounds out of the handicap here. She won over seven furlongs here a year ago when rated 49 and is now rated 46. She will be having her first run for Anthony McCann tonight and, interestingly, will be racing in blinkers for the first time.
SELECTION: Major Power is proving relentless, although Eacharn is weighted to beat him today; Flarepath is intriguing; Poet’s Pride’s confidence will be high; Wherewithal is also intriguing and Iseebreeze, who could jump out and try and make all from her good draw, would be fancied by me if racing from inside the handicap. It adds up to a fascinating race in which I will side with POET’S PRIDE – Overnight price, 5/1
The general rule over the years has been being draw high in handicaps over distances of 5f to one mile (with a full field of 14) is slightly disadvantageous. The winning stall numbers this year in handicaps:
5 furlongs – 5, 2, 5, 3, 3, 11
6 furlongs – 6, 15, 4, 16, 3
7 furlongs – 14, 7, 12, 11, 1, 15, 9, 7, 10, 13, 15, 5
one mile – 7, 11, 12, 12, 1, 2, 4, 1, 1, 11, 12, 3
5pm – Fairways Hotel Ladies’ Day Sunday 12th July Handicap, 3yo, 6f, €11,000
This is a handicap for three-year-olds. Horses can do a lot of developing between October and March in their second and third years of racing so it will be no surprise if a number of these build substantially on what they have so far achieved.
- Lady Maura – She finished fourth in a maiden here following a four-month break last time and finished third in a handicap here when rated 67 (now 70) in October; if she’s back to that type of form, she would have to come into things; she’s a half-sister to four winners, including Andrew Balding’s Group 1-winner Donjuan Triumphant
- Myrcella – She’s been placed in turf handicaps over 7f and 6f on soft going rated 63 and 64 and is now rated 66. She has been off since October but can’t be ruled out, I feel, based on her profile
- Lady Alcazar – She ran well when fourth in a maiden here last time (Jan 3) on her first try at today’s trip, which augured well for her future as she enters handicap company rated 63, which seems fair enough
- Kerry Blue – Three unplaced runs so far for him at longer trips than today for this half-brother to three winners
- Briseuse De Coeur – She has suggested ability and ran well when third in a 7f claimer here last time but was beaten when rated 66 (now 61) – she finished ninth of 14 – on her only try so far in a handicap (which also came over 7f); a likeble type physically, she’s open to further improvement – see Lequinto
- Lequinto – He left previous form behind when, following a break since August, he finished third in a 6f handicap here on Feb 14 when rated 58 (beaten 0.75 lengths, nearest at finish) from a poor draw; from just a one-pound higher rating – and a good draw – he’s entitled to some thought here. Talking Tough finished a neck behind him in that race and is now two pounds better off at the weights which, theoretically, makes it close between them. However, Talking Tough hasn’t built on that in two runs since, including when 4.25 lengths behind Briseuse De Coeur in a 7f claimer last time but will be five pounds better off at the weight today
- Talking Tough – See Lequinto
- Banchory – Three unplaced maiden runs so far but, after a two-month break, her run behind American Lady here last time looked like a step forward and she will be trying tonight’s trip for the first time. She’s from the same family as two-year-old Group 1 winners Listen and Sequoyah, the latter also being the dam of dual 2,000 Guineas winner Henrythenavigator
- Lazy Susan – Three unplaced runs so far although her fifth of 14 here on Jan 24 was a reasonable effort. She will be trying tonight’s trip for the first time
- Settle Me Down – He’s been beaten in handicaps here in his last two runs (including last time following a break, where he finished behind Lequinto and Talking Tough) from ratings of 63 and 58 (still rated 58), including in headgear. He needs to improve on his form so far shown in order to get involved
- Amelia Jane – Her best run so far came last time when fourth in a nursery here on November 29th when rated 56 (now 54). That was over a mile. On balance, she will need to have improved over the winter in order to get meaningfully involved today
- Sebs Star – She improved to finish second (caught close home) to Miss Cunning in a c/d nursery on November 20th on her latest start when rated 51 (now rated 52). She couldn’t be ruled out of a good run based on that performance although she lacks a recent run
SELECTION: It would be no surprise to see Lady Maura go well but I am going to side with LEQUINTO, whose profile looks pretty solid for the race – Overnight price, 5/2 (from 9/2)
SUMMARY OF SELECTIONS:
1:30pm – DANCE ALONE
2pm – FLOWER GARLAND
2:30pm – YUFTEN
3pm – JULIET ROSE (NAP)
3:30pm – FOLLOWYOU FOLLOWME
4pm – CAUTIOUS APPROACH
4:30pm – POET’S PRIDE
5pm – LEQUINTO (NB)
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Dundalk will race again on Wednesday March 25th with what is provisionally a seven-race card set to begin at 2pm.