While it has been a struggle around Dundalk in recent weeks, we are hoping to get a few winners on the board with Cheltenham looming on the horizon. My selection in the feature looks the best chance of the night.
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5.00 CLAIMING RACE 6F
This race is a typical trappy claiming race to open affairs and the John Feane stable are looking for a hat-trick in this race having won it in 2019 with Yuften and then in 2020 with Billyfairplay.
They are represented this time around by KENDRED SOUL who will be having her second start for the team since arriving from Jedd O’Keeffe in the UK.
She was very eyecatching on debut when finishing third in a claimer behind Comin’ Through, which looks solid form for the grade. She was 80/1 that night and outran expectations, but if she can back that up she looks one of the main protagonists here.
In terms of form in the UK, she had bits and pieces but nothing really stood out. She was successful over 5f at Beverley back in October 2020 but also has placed form over 6f prior to that. She could be somewhat of a shrewd acquisition by the team and this race looks slightly weaker than the one she contested last time.
With Kevin Manning keeping the mount, she looks to have a solid each-way chance here and should be hard to keep out of the frame.
5.30 MAIDEN 6F
John Mc Connell loves to have a winner at Dundalk and his representative in this race NANA PATSY looks sure to improve from her debut at Bellewstown.
She was slowly away on that occasion and trailed the field but stuck to the task admirably to run on and snatch fourth close home. Alloha Star, who won that race, went on and won the Group Two Airlie Stud Stakes on her next start. The second on that occasion was Logo Hunter who will actually reoppose here.
The form of the race has also got a nice boost from Tassel Flower who finished eighth but has subsequently been placed around Dundalk in recent months.
Nana Patsy will likely have to improve again to contend but she would be a small each-way play at a decent price.
6.00 Q.R. HANDICAP 2M
It is not very often you will see Jamie Codd make his way to Dundalk on a Friday night and it catches the eye that he teams up with GREAT TRANGO here.
This horse was pulled up in a chase last time out on ground which was likely much softer than he would have preferred. His flat form is actually pretty strong considering he won at Galway back in 2018 over two miles and then finished sixth in the English Cesarewitch back in 2019 when Stratum was successful.
He is rated 80 on the flat and, while this will be his first attempt on the all weather, the jockey booking really catches the eye.
I would expect him to go very close here and he should be hard to keep out of the frame.
6.30 HANDICAP 1M 4F
Down at the foot of the weights, NIGHTLY WAILING gets the vote with Rory Cleary back in the saddle after this horse ran very well last Friday under Sean Cleary Farrell, who was claiming seven pounds.
He came with his challenge inside the final furlong and got bumped but it didnt halt his momentum and he stayed on to finish third. He has been put up two pounds for that run but I think that will still leave him nicely handicapped.
He has been very consistent in his last four runs around Dundalk and, if he gets a strong pace to aim at, he should be staying on well.
Good each-way value and should go close.
7.00 MAIDEN 1M
Jessica Harrington has her team in very good form and, with Shane Foley back aboard, I would be expecting a solid run from JUNGLE COVE here as he looks to break his maiden.
This horse has been ridden by Alan Glynn on his last four starts and, while he is beginning to look exposed, this looks one of the best opportunities he has had to get his head in front.
He drops back in trip having failed to stay a mile and a quarter when finishing behind Tooreen Angel and Mosala on his last two starts. Even though he is drawn very wide, I could see Shane just slotting him in off the pace and hoping for some luck up the straight.
Should be in contention here if he gets some luck in running.
7.30 PATTON STAKES LISTED RACE 1M
The feature of the night looks an excellent renewal and Joseph O’Brien looks to hold the trump cards having three declared for the race.
The one that really catches the eye for me is MESSIDOR who was very impressive last time out when she got the better of Hale Bopp by an ever-idening 2 ¾ lengths. Her turn of foot was electric on that occasion and the time of the race backed it up.
She clocked a quicker time carrying more weigh,t which shows to me that she is improving at a rate of knots. Much of the question marks may be whether she will see out a mile but I have no issue with that. She travels well in her races and has quickened nicely in her last two starts.
I think she is a name to put in your notebook this season as hopefully she looks like she is going places.
Should take all the beating here.
8.00 HANDICAP 7F
John Mc Connell could be in line for a double on the night as FASTMAN has his second start for the yard and will be the mount of Siobhan Rutledge.
This horse is owned by the Galaxy Horse Racing Syndicate and he ran a very strong race last time when dead-heating for second behind Big Gossey. The handicapper has left him on the same mark and, if he improves off the back of that run, he should go very close.
This horse was formerly trained by David O’Meara and if he can come back to anything like the form he showed when third behind Space Blues at York in 2019 then he will be hard to beat.
Space Blues was last seen winning in Riyadh on the 20th February but has also landed a Group One since and is really on the improve.
If Siobhan can get Fastman to settle off the pace, he should finish his race out strongly and take plenty of beating here.
8.30 HANDICAP 7F
The final race of the night is probably one of the most puzzling contests on the evening but the top weight CURSORY EXAM will get my vote and is due to be ridden by Dean Curran who will be taking seven pounds off the horse’s back.
This horse has one very strong piece of form at the Curragh when he finished fourth in a maiden behind Hudson River. In third on that occasion was Wembley who went on to finish second in the Dewhurst at Newmarket.
While Cursory Exam hasn’t really regressed, he has just found it tough to get his head in front. This grade should suit him much better and, while he has a little bit to find on the ratings, I would be surprised if he didn’t go close.
He will need to produce the form he showed when second to Going Global in a nursery over course and distance.
He looks one to main players in this race and should be hard to keep out of the frame.