6.30pm Dundalk Tips & Betting Preview 23/12/2016

Fourteen go to post for today’s feature race and this is a tricky handicap in which to find the winner. Read on for our experts’ thoughts and betting tips.

IN SUMMARY: Chestnut Fire will no doubt be popular with punters after his double here in the last couple of months and he can continue his progress by going close again. This is competitive, however, with plenty of course winners in the line-up, none more so than GEOLOGICAL. He was a good winner here last time out and had a few of these behind him. This is slightly stronger, but his trainer is currently in good form with his small string. This Rock of Gibraltar gelding can continue to progress and he should go close again against a few exposed rivals. Russian Soul has the class to win this, but has been out of sorts for a couple of months now and he could fill the places if on a going day. The same could be said for Hat Alnasar if he returns to the form he showed earlier in the year when winning three times at this course now that he is back on one of those winning marks.

1 Chestnut Fire – Has won three of his four career wins on this track and clearly thriving at present. Landed a double here recently before finishing a good runner up in a similar handicap, just failing by a nose. Should be in the shake up again on recent form and solid claims.

2 Russian Soul – Useful sort who has won six times at this course and has wins up to Listed/Group 3 level in 2013. He has been contesting better races as recently as September and rated 103 in July. 10lb lower here and needs to overcome his wide draw. However, whilst he was below form in fifth behind Geological over 6f here seven days ago, he can get involved on best form. Although all of his best runs recently have come in lesser races.

3 Togoville – Winner six times at this course, but has not won in 12 runs since winning comfortably by two lengths over 6f here last November. Largely toward the rear in his last five runs at this track since the summer, bar one runner-up finish. Well beaten when 11th of 14 last week in the race won by the reopposing Geological (Russian Soul in fifth) and likely to find this handicap too hot today, with others looking more persuasive.

4 Have A Nice Day – Three time winner over C&D, but not since early last year. His last win came on the turf at the Curragh (Good/Soft) in July and his most recent runs on this track have been largely uninspiring. Hard to fancy for win purposes today.

5 Shepherd’s Purse – Two time winner on the turf and ran his best race on the AW when second behind Geological a week ago. Beaten a length and looked held by that winner on that occasion. Does not look particularly progressive and likely he will finish further down the field today in stronger company.

6 Hat Alnasar – Course specialist with six wins, four of them coming this year up to 1m. Has not run particularly well in three starts in lesser company this autumn following a short break, but has slipped back down to a decent mark of 85 (won off this mark in February) and could be dangerous to rule out if the first time blinkers have an effect. Claims.

7 Northern Surprise – Won at this course three times last winter up to 1m, albeit in weaker races and achieving an RPR of 81 in the process. Has not been seen to best effect kept to that level in three subsequent runs since landing that hat-trick (behind Hat Alnasar two runs ago) and needs to up his game having not been given too hard a time when only 12th of 14 last time out.

8 Seanie – Has won over C&D, but not since 2013 and has not fired in 13 runs since his last win at Tipperary 14 months ago. Left behind a couple of disappointing runs at this course to finish third of ten last time out. Has been well beaten in better company as well as at this level recently. Hard to see him getting back to winning ways today.

9 Ishebayorgrey – Winner over C&D three times and has won that many from 16 runs this year, including at this course two starts ago. Upped in grade last time out when only fourth in the same field size that he faces today. Looks up against it in this company, despite being well drawn on the inside. However, he comes into this in good form.

10 The Mouse Doctor – Two wins from 11 career runs, including a good winner when the well-backed favourite on his fourth start in February. Did not beat much that day or two starts later when landing another handicap over 1m at Killarney. Runner-up of a lesser event next time out and has largely disappointed since, including an 11th of 14 behind Chestnut Fire two starts ago from only 2lb higher. Likely to struggle against that one again, but the booking of Kevin Manning is a plus.

11 Geological – Rock of Gibraltar gelding who had been running well recently and improved on his third over C&D two starts ago to win by a length in a similar race last week with a few of these in behind. The manner in which he stayed on that day – always holding the reopposing Shepherd’s Purse in second – suggests that he can confirm the form, stepping up to 7f in this despite being 9lb worse off with that rival. Has a penalty for that going up 5lb overall and he is a big player, with more progress looking forthcoming on this surface. Yard in good form.

12 Cocoa Beach – Previously trained by Sir Mark Prescott and had his first run for the yard when only seventh of 14 behind Geological in a handicap at this track seven days ago. Had a hood on that day and it remains on for this. The step up in trip should suit. Looks held against Geological and has not come close to winning since his debut win in January.

13 Mcguigan – Dual turf winner at Leopardstown in August up to 1m1f and only sixth of 14 behind the reopposing Geological seven days ago when never really threatening. Looks held with that rival for win purposes, given that his recent AW form on this track is poor.

14 Victorious Secret – Winner over C&D in July and landed a double when following up at Leopardstown less than a month later. Runner up at the same course behind McGuigan next time out, but has disappointed for the switch back to this surface, with his only good run coming behind Chestnut Fire when third of seven two starts ago. Looks a pound or two wrong here and likely to find this opposition too difficult for win purposes. She is definitely one to watch back in lesser company.

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