After a brief sabbatical, I have returned to look at an excellent Friday night fixture at Dundalk Stadium.
This card features some very interesting maidens and typically-competitive handicaps. Movie King, who is the selection in the first race, looks a very interesting runner for Tony Martin and could have much of the market to himself.
My Nap on the night was a very impressive winner last time out and her trainer was waxing lyrical about her after that victory. I think there is plenty more improvement to come from her and she should be tough to beat.
Scroll down to check out the remainder of my selections and, hopefully, we will get a winner or two on the board.
We will be BOOSTING THE PRICE of the FAVOURITE on the LIVE SHOWS in EVERY RACE at DUNDALK on Friday
We are also paying 4 PLACES (up from 3 places) in the 3:45PM, 4:15PM, 6:45PM AND 7:15PM races on the DUNDALK card
3.45 DUNDALK WINTER SERIES LEADING TRAINER & JOCKEY CHAMPIONSHIP HANDICAP (4yo+ 45-65) Winner €5,900 14 runners 2m Standard RTV
Tony Martin and Robbie Colgan team up here with the John Breslin-owned MOVIE KING, and this lightly-raced five year-old looks one of the main betting propositions here.
He goes up in trip to two miles on the level for the first time and, having finished fourth to Turf Range last time, I would expect him to go close here. He looked to get outpaced last time before staying on again, suggesting that he might travel better over a longer distance.
He has been raised three pounds in the ratings for that run and there is no doubt that Tony Martin will have him fit and ready to go.
The market will tell us plenty but I think he will be tough to keep out of the frame.
4.15 IRISHINJUREDJOCKEYS.COM APPRENTICE HANDICAP (4yo+ 50-80) Winner €6,785 14 runners 1m4f Standard RTV
Charlie O’Dwyer was on board ANNEXATION last time out when he gave him a cracker of a ride to get up close home. He got the better of Hightown Heights on that occasion by half-a-length and has been raised eight pound for that win.
I think the step up in trip to a mile and a half should really suit and he should be able to drop in and ride the horse for some luck in running. He was definitely value for more than the winning margin suggested last time and I think we could see a similar performance this time around.
He was a two-mile hurdle winner at Kilbeggan back in June so stamina shouldn’t be much of an issue around Dundalk over this trip.
Should be a solid each-way selection in a competitive race.
4.45 FOLLOW US ON TWITTER @DUNDALKSTADIUM MAIDEN (4yo+) Winner €6,490 14 runners 1m2f150y Standard RTV
This is not the strongest race on paper and ,with blinkers applied for the first time, the Dermot Weld-trained LYRA BELLACQUA could be the one to follow having shown some decent form on the all-weather in recent weeks.
She was third to Wychwood Whisper and then fourth behind Mulgrave in the space of a couple of weeks and was at the top my list for a filly who shouldn’t take long to get her head in front.
I was disappointed by her run last Friday night as she stayed on well up the straight behind Everyhouronthehour but never looked like getting near the leaders.
This race, in my opinion, looks weak and this could be her best chance to break her maiden tag.
5.15 VIEW RESTAURANT AT DUNDALK STADIUM APPRENTICE HANDICAP (3yo) Winner €6,195 11 runners 7f Standard RTV
Donal Commins, who trains DRISH MELODY, was full of compliments for this filly after she got her head in front last time out.
She got the better of Cryptos Dream and Pepsiwithacap and the trainer was adamant that she would keep improving off the back of that and that her preparation prior to her victory last time was very good.
Her brother, Drish Venture, also won around Dundalk, so if this filly can improve off her victory then she must go very close. It is very interesting that connections mentioned that they were going to put her away and see if they could sell her.
This race looks very winnable and she will be my NAP on the night as I think she will take a world of beating.
5.45 DUNDALKSTADIUM.COM FILLIES’ MAIDEN (3yo) Winner €7,080 14 runners 1m Standard RTV
LAKEWOOD looks a very interesting contender here for the team of Michael O’Callaghan and Rory Cleary. This filly finished sixth on debut in a race won by Independent Expert and that race looks much stronger than what she will face here.
There is no doubt she will improve off the back of that run and, with luck in running, I would expect her to go close.
The form of that race has yet to be tested but she kept on well towards the finish suggesting that the step up in trip will suit and that she would learn plenty from her debut.
I would keep a close eye on the market but, with luck in running, I think she will go very close.
6.15 BOOK ONLINE AT DUNDALKSTADIUM.COM MAIDEN (3yo) Winner €7,080 13 runners 1m Standard RTV
The Henry de Bromhead team will have all eyes set on Prestbury Park in March but they have a really strong chance of getting a winner on the board here with BARBAPAPA ,who will be ridden by Mark Enright.
This horse was a barrier trial winner on the 18th August and then slightly disappointed when sixth to Cornman on his first start. He produced a much better performance when he finished fifth to Almanera last time out.
He was slightly hampered there inside the final two furlongs and, with more improvement to come, I think we might see a different horse this time around.
The step up in trip is sure to suit and I will be very disappointed if he is not involved in the finish.
6.45 JOIN US ON INSTAGRAM @DUNDALK_STADIUM HANDICAP (DIV I) (4yo+ 45-65) Winner €5,900 14 runners 1m Standard RTV
ADAPT TO DAN comes into this race off the back of a very encouraging fourth behind Clueless Hill last time out. He gets in here off a mark of 58 and this will be his fourth start for trainer Mark Fahey since he left the stable of Denis Hogan.
He has been placed twice off this mark before so there is no doubt connections will be expecting a decent run here. Danny Sheehy will take three pounds off his back and that will leave him very nicely handicapped.
He has a nice draw in stall five and should be able to slot in off a strong pace and be delivered inside the final furlong.
He is relatively lightly raced on the all-weather, having had only eight runs.
I think he looks less exposed than some of the opposition in the field and I think he will be tough to keep out of the frame.
7.15 JOIN US ON INSTAGRAM @DUNDALK_STADIUM HANDICAP (DIV II) (4yo+ 45-65) Winner €5,900 14 runners 1m Standard RTV
The second division of this race looks the trickier puzzle than the first, but the consistent BOASTY could finally have a chance to get his head back in front.
This horse has had five runs since the 17th September and they were very consistent runs, having finished fourth twice and third twice before disappointing last time out. He was short of room on a couple of occasions behind Dr Patrick and there is no doubt in my mind that he will get his head in front sooner rather than later.
He remains on the same mark of 53 and the handicapper is giving him a chance.
I think with luck in running this time around he will be a solid betting proposition and should take all the beating.