Its another fantastic Friday at Dundalk Stadium and the feature on the night is the Al Basti Equiworld, Dubai Pat Smullen Mercury Stakes (Group 3). Pat rode his last winner at Dundalk Stadium aboard Togoville and it will be a very poignant success for the connections of the winner of this race. It looks a very interesting card overall and market moves will need to be watched very closely. The other interesting race of the night is the maiden at 7.45 where Kevin Prendergast looks to have a decent chance of landing the pot.
4.45 FILLIES & MARES CLAIMING RACE (3yo+) Winner €5,900 14 runners 7f Standard RTV
On ratings this race looks to be between Sister Lola and MALAYSIAN and the latter is going to be my selection in the opening race on the night.
Shane Foley has ridden Sister Lola on two of her last four starts so he might just know the chinks in her armour if she has any. Malaysian is rated five pounds inferior to Sister Lola but will get ten pounds from her rival and that could be more than enough to get her head in front.
She is relatively lightly raced and looks to need a sound surface having been a non runner on numerous occasions where the ground description was soft or worse.
The last time she was seen was back on the 7th July when she finished down the field in a race at Fairyhouse won by Nebo. It looked very strong company on that occasion with the likes of Ice Cold In Alex, Sindhia and Big Gossey all finishing in front of her.
While she will need to be at the top of her game to trouble a thriving Sister Lola I think she will give her plenty to think about.
Should go very close with luck in running.
5.15 STORY OF DUNDALK STADIUM BOOK AVAILABLE ONLINE APPRENTICE HANDICAP (3yo+ 45-70) Winner €6,195 14 runners 7f Standard RTV
It could be a quick double on the card for Jessica Harrington as BROSNA EMPRESS will look to get her head in front following two second place finishes on her last two starts.
The big difference this time around for me is that she will be favoured by a low draw and dropping back down in trip to seven furlongs.
She was drawn in stall eleven and stall fifteen on her last two starts but this time around she is drawn in stall two and may be able to adopt a handy early position that could see her getting that deserved success. She has gone up three pound in the handicap since her last start but she is in decent form and will take all the beating.
Scott Mc Cullagh who rode this filly on her last start stays aboard and while she may need to reverse form with Skontonovski I think she can do it.
She is one of the main betting propositions in this race and should go very close.
5.45 IRISHINJUREDJOCKEYS.COM HANDICAP (DIV I) (3yo+ 45-65) Winner €5,900 12 runners 6f Standard RTV
BROKERS TIP caught the eye last time out on his return to the all weather when he was a staying on fifth behind Resourceful Man trained by Eddie Lynam.
From four starts at Dundalk this horse has one win and two places so he likes the surface and is quite a consistent sort when things go his way. There is no doubt that he will likely strip fitter this time around and with Kevin Manning on board connections may fancy their chances.
The handicapper has taken a little bit of a chance with him as he is left on the same mark of 61. He won a nursery off a mark of 66 so there is a little bit of room to manoeuvre with his mark. He is drawn out wide in stall eleven but he will be travelling away off the pace and will hopefully come through with a winning run.
Looks a solid each-way contender here and should be tough to keep out of the frame.
6.15 IRISHINJUREDJOCKEYS.COM HANDICAP (DIV II) (3yo+ 45-65) Winner €5,900 12 runners 6f Standard RTV
James Mc Auley and his team are no strangers to Dundalk Stadium and they look to have a solid each way chance in the second division of this handicap with BELEAGUERMENT who looks attractively handicapped.
This horse would likely prefer a little further in terms of trip but he has a better draw this time than he had last time out and with Shane Foley aboard I think he could be slightly overpriced. He was placed off marks in the 60s but gets in here off a mark of 50 and he is going to land one of these sooner rather than later.
He was formerly trained by John Mc Connell but his new connections are adept at improving a horse from another yard and this will be his fourth start for his new yard so they should have a fair gauge at his ability.
This is the trickier puzzle of the two divisions but I would be happy with a small each-way play on Beleaguerment at a decent price.
6.45 CROWNE PLAZA HOTEL DUNDALK NURSERY HANDICAP (2yo) Winner €6,785 11 runners 5f Standard RTV
Willie Mc Creerys team are just starting to hit form having a winner and two placed from three runners at Navan on Wednesday.
This time around Willie and Billy Lee team up with PEPPER STREAK who was a very good fourth behind Exquisite Acclaim when last seen at Dundalk over six furlongs.
This filly hasn’t finished outside the top four in four starts to date and she has some strong form over five furlongs. On second start she finished second behind Ernest Rutherford and had subsequent winner Speedacus in behind. Neo Soul who finished fourth on that occasion has been placed three times since so the form has a very solid look to it.
I think that this nursery is slightly weaker than some of the races she has contested and with the application of a first time visor she could go very close.
7.15 AL BASTI EQUIWORLD, DUBAI PAT SMULLEN MERCURY STAKES (GROUP 3) (2yo+) Winner €29,500 9 runners 5f Standard RTV
The feature of the night is the Pat Smullen Mercury Stakes Group Three and it is very interesting that Karl Burke sends two fillies over from his base in Middleham.
DANDALLA won her first three starts as a two year old culminating in victory in a Group Two on the July course at Newmarket. She kept some very strong company as a three year old and ran a cracker to finish fourth behind Campanelle in the Group One Commonwealth Cup on heavy ground.
She got back in the winners enclosure on her penultimate start at Ayr where she really impressed me in a Listed race getting the better of Bimble in decisive fashion. The last time she was seen was when she finished down the field in the Prix De L’Abbeye at Longchamp behind A Case Of You.
This will be a massive drop in grade and there is no doubt that connections expect a big run having booked Gavin Ryan for the mount. Should go close with luck in running.
7.45 1m Irish EBF Median Sires Series Maiden (IRE Incentive Race) (2yo)
This is a very intriguing race with some very well bred runners and none more so than ALAROOS who is a daughter of Golden Horn and when she may need further in time she was very eye-catching on debut and will be my NAP on the card.
I have watched her debut back on a number of occasions and it took a while for the penny to drop but once it did she stayed on strongly up the straight. The winner of the race was the Jessica Harrington trained Discoveries who was placed in a Group Two before going on to land a Group One with the Moyglare Stud Stakes at the Curragh.
The third has also come out and won since so the form has a very solid look to it. Alaroos has a decent draw in stall two and could just prove too classy for her rivals.
Will take a world of beating here under Chris Hayes for Kevin Prendergast.
8.15 1m2½f (1m2f150y) Follow Us On Instagram @dundalk_stadium Maiden (3yo+)
Barrier trails have proved to be a fine way of success for many trainers around Dundalk Stadium in recent times and Joseph O’Brien normally takes plenty of runners to the County Louth venue.
His runner here HOBSONS BAY caught the eye in a couple of barrier trials most notably when third behind Moracana and then second to Daisy Jones. Both of the trials were over seven furlongs so this is a substantial rise in trip but there is no doubt on breeding that he will need a trip and could ultimately improve for it.
The barrier trials provide horses with the valued experience before they contest a race so many of them can actually improve from the day out.
I am looking forward to seeing this horse run so hopefully he can go close with luck in running.