5.30pm Dundalk Tips & Betting Preview 03/02/2017

Credit to Dundalk racecourse who always have brilliant prize-money up for grabs and this is no different with a hefty pot of €24,000 on offer for this handicap over the extended mile and a quarter. Nine runners go to post so read on for our runner by runner guide and free tip for the race.

IN SUMMARY: The much improved Specific Gravity is thriving at present and looks sure to go well again whilst Song Of Love is likely to travel best of all, just depends what he finds off the bridle. A chance is taken on the Mick Halford trained MAKNIFICENT who is yet to win on the all-weather but the handicapper has eased her in the weights once again and she looks off a very lenient mark. Mick is the leading trainer at the track and with such an attractive prize up for grabs, won’t be sending a horse that he doesn’t think can win.

1 JOHANN BACH – Two time winner at Dundalk, once over course and distance but he has a big task on at the weights. Patrick Harney’s eight year old is rated much higher on turf and won off a mark of 89 over a mile at Naas last May. As a consequence, his all-weather mark has suffered and he has to run off 93 tonight. Considering his handicap win here came off a mark of 72, he is likely to find a few too good.

2 POLITICAL POLICY – All eight of this horses’ wins have come here at Dundalk so he is a course specialist. Well beat on his last five starts here, he is now slipping back down the weights and he is now four pounds lower than when second over course and distance back in November and one pound below his last winning mark. Colin Keane booked for the ride and a big run is expected for Gavin Cromwell.

3 RED AVENGER – Notched up a hat-trick of victories here at Dundalk over a mile between November and January, moving from a mark of 83 up to 92. Very well backed when last seen and with Pat Smullen booked, he couldn’t get involved so it looks like the handicapper has his measure. Upped in trip here is also a concern based on his most recent form but three to four years ago, he was a winner over this trip on the turf in the UK. Bit to prove off this mark.

4 SHALAMAN – Back with the Matthew Smith stable after a short spell with David Marnane and he has a hefty 316 day break to overcome here which will be no easy feat. Good draw in Stall 1 to attack from and he is a three time course winner but he is another that looks too high in the weights at present, well above his last winning mark at the track. Percentage call is to oppose with so many question marks surrounding him.

5 SPECIFIC GRAVITY – Adrian McGuinness trained nine year old who arrives here in fine fettle, not out of the first four here on his last five starts and two wins here from his last seven. Won very well off a mark of 68 in November over this course and distance and only narrowly failed over the same C&D last time out, half a length behind Mainicin off a mark of 80. Improving horse on this surface and looks sure to go well off just one pound higher.

6 UDOGO – One of two runners in the field trained by Joseph O’Brien and his sister Anna takes the ride, a lady who is very good value for her five pound claim. This six year old gelding may have finished 11th of the 14 runners here last time out but he was only beat just over three lengths, staying on well at the death. He beat Specific Gravity two starts back and looks a major player if he can produce that level of form again.

7 SONG OF LOVE – The second of the Joseph O’Brien runners and Wayne Lordan takes the mount. Won two handicaps over this course and distance and another over a mile and a half in December and has dealt well with a seven pound hike in his two races since, finishing third on both occasions. The five year old was desperately unlucky last time out, trading as short as 1.01 in-running on the exchanges and another bold bid is on the cards off the same mark.

8 BROKOPONDO – Third here on his last three starts off marks of 74 and 75, over a mile and a half and a mile and a quarter. Gone up another pound for a narrow defeat last time out but there’s a very useful seven pound claimer in the saddle to take over from five pound claimer Derek O’Connor so technically he’s running off a one pound lower mark. Holds every chance at the weights.

9 MAKNIFICENT – Five year old mare who bolted up on good to firm ground at Leopardstown on turf last summer. Inconsistent type and she is yet to set the world alight on the all-weather, but she now runs off a lowly mark of 75 and she was only beat three and three quarter lengths last time out, for all she finished tenth. Mick Halford is the top trainer at Dundalk and this is such a big pot that he will want a piece of it so we are expecting a massive run at a big price off a very low weight.

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