Folks, we started off in flying form for 2021 with two nice priced winners in Primo Uomo (9/1) and Scholastic (4/1) on Friday last so we will be looking to pick up where we left off. A tricky card but some decent prices and hopefully we get a winner or two on the board.
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2.30 IRISHINJUREDJOCKEYS.COM HANDICAP 1M 4F (DIV I)
Siobhan Rutledge and John Mc Connell have a very good strike rate at Dundalk in recent months and can improve that here with GRIYFFNDOR.
This horse really caught the eye on his last run when finishing fourth behind Storm Steps who is rated twenty pound higher than him. He travelled really sweet in the hands of Rory Cleary and was waiting for room just in behind up the straight.
He flattened out inside the final furlong but it looked a much stronger race than he will contend this time around. The handicapper has dropped him 4lbs and with Siobhan taking 7lb off his back he looks nicely handicapped.
The fifth horse on that occasion Donoch came out and won next time out so it gives the form a solid look to it.
It is a competitive start to a tricky card but we should get a solid run here and with luck in running should be hard to keep out of the frame.
3.00 IRISHINJUREDJOCKEYS.COM HANDICAP 1M 4F (DIV II)
The second division of this handicap looks even trickier than the first but I am going to take a chance on LEAHMAN who is much higher rated over hurdles and could effectively be thrown in on the all weather off a mark of 44.
He has started favourite for his last two flat runs with the best of them being a solid second place finish behind Place Des Vosges at the Curragh. The most noticeable thing about that run was how well he travelled. This will be his third attempt on the all weather but I think we will see a much different performance this time around.
He won a three year old maiden hurdle at Gowran Park back in 2019 by a massive 33 lengths by making all. He may come on plenty for the run but there is no doubt connections will be looking to take advantage of an attractive flat mark sooner rather than later.
Should be hard to keep out of the frame here.
3.30 CROWNE PLAZA HOTEL DUNDALK HANDICAP 2M (DIV I)
Normally you would look for an unexposed runner stepping up in trip to try and solve a puzzle like this but course regular SHARJAH might just get the run of the race up front and be very hard to peg back.
The last time we seen him over this stamina sapping trip he was beaten by the minimum margin when second to Jerandme trained by Noel Meade. That was off a five pound higher mark on that occasion and with Andy Slattery claiming three pound he looks nicely weighted.
I just think if he doesn’t attempt to make all the running he could sit handy enough and just have too much for them in the finish.
He hasn’t won on the all weather since 2018 but he is normally very consistent and taking that into account I could see him going very close here.
4.00 CROWNE PLAZA HOTEL DUNDALK HANDICAP 2M (DIV II)
Siobhan Rutledge could be in line for a double on the card with BARE WITH ME who steps up in trip on her first start for her new stable.
This mare was formerly trained by Edward O’Grady and looks as if she will stay this far based on form shown over a mile and a half. She finished a very creditable fourth to Chateau Musar who has come out and won again since so that gives the form an extremely solid look to it. She is completed unexposed over the distance and if her new yard can sweeten her up then I would expect a big run.
She has been dropped a pound since her last run and taking Siobhans claim into the equation it could give her a solid each way chance.
She travels well in her races and sticks to it well so with luck in running I think she might be hard to keep out of the frame at a decent price.
4.30 MAIDEN 6F
ABEONA looks the absolute standout in this field on the basis of form she has shown when trained by Ger Lyons.
She has been campaigned over seven furlongs and a mile but it might turn out that she is better over shorter.
The piece for form that stands out in this field is when she finished second to Pearl’s Galore trained by Paddy Twomey at Cork. Pearl’s Galore went on to finish second in a Group Three on her next start at Gowran Park and then started favourite for the listed Cooley Stakes at Dundalk in which Unmalnar trained by William Haggas was a very impressive winner.
Abeona got to within four and a half lengths of Pearl’s Galore in Cork and a run anywhere close to that this time around should see her pick up this maiden with a minimum of fuss.
Chris Hayes will be on board this time around and he was actually on board in Cork so knows this filly.
She looks the best bet on the day for me and will take plenty of beating.
5.00 FOLLOW US ON TWITTER @DUNDALKSTADIUM MAIDEN 7F
It looks extremely tough to get away from VISUALISATION who should put his experience to good use and get off the mark at the second time of asking.
It looked a decent maiden in which he made his debut in, won by Chicago Bear with the likes of Shackleton Hero and Diderot in behind. Most of Joseph O’Briens juveniles tend to need their first run and improve massively off the back of it.
While he is likely to be a short priced market leader he should take all the beating. He stuck at it well on his debut and was likely learning on the job.
Will be very hard to beat here and will take a decent performance from one of the newcomers to run him close.
5.30 JOIN US ON INSTAGRAM @DUNDALKSTADIUM HANDICAP 1M (DIV I)
Gavin Cromwell has a very interesting runner here in HARBANAKER based on a piece of form he showed when finishing third to the very smart Crossfirehurricane back on the 7th February 2020.
The winner went on to land the Gallinule next time out and also ran in the Irish Derby while Harbanaker on the other hand remains a maiden but could be nicely weighted here.
He hasn’t been seen since July when he was extremely eye catching behind Star Of Cashel at Naas and that form has worked out well enough. The track and trip wont be an issue whatsoever so if he is ready to go after his break then he looks a solid each way proposition here.
His form stands out and it will surely be a matter of time before a handicap comes his way. Keep a close eye on the market.
6.00 JOIN US ON INSTAGRAM @DUNDALKSTADIUM HANDICAP 1M (DIV II)
The second division of this handicap and the final race on the card looks a tricky assignment but a mare that has been consistent over the winter is FASCINATING SPIRIT and she could finally get her head in front.
On her last two runs she was doing her best work at the finish over seven furlongs and steps back up to a mile here. On her penultimate run she finished fourth to Eglish who is a decent yardstick around Dundalk so a similar run could see her go very close.
Her trainer has been in decent form in recent weeks with a 50% strike rate, two winners from his four runners. If Gearoid Brouder can get her to settle early on she will hopefully finish her race better.
Should go close.