Twelve horses line up for this Handicap over 1m in the feature at Dundalk today. Read on for our experts’ thoughts and betting tips.
IN SUMMARY: Reckless Lad should have an interesting encounter again with the re-opposing Red Avenger but is taken to get closer than that rival today and should run well after his staying on second three weeks ago. Chestnut Fire is bidding for a hat-trick of wins here and should give it a good go and the manner in which he won last time suggests he can defy his penalty. A chance is taken however on HE’S OUR MUSIC who is 3-4 here in recent weeks and if ridden positively here can continue his good form for new trainer Dusty Sheehy.
1 Captain Joy – Won here over this trip – the first of back-to-back successes on the AW earlier this year and has won half of his 18 races overall on this surface. Contested at Listed level in Sweden in May when eighth of 12 and followed up in Group 3 company on final start in August when fifth of 8 behind Tribal Beat in the Desmond Stakes at Leopardstown. Back in Handicap company here and has a solid place chance if ready to go after a break and trainer does well here.
2 Johan Bach – Has won a couple of times here before in the early stages of his career but all of his wins gained on turf since including hat-trick of Handicap victories (2 Apprentice events included). Won over 1m at Naas two runs ago and was in with chance before slipping up on last start at the Curragh in June. Off the track for 167 days and not renowned for going well fresh. Others look stronger.
3 Political Policy – Bit of a course specialist having won 8 times here the last being back-to-back victories last Winter. The second of those came at 1m4f and has finished second three times since at 1m2f. Probably needs further these days and wasn’t disgraced in fourth over 1m4f last Friday. Down in trip here and might get tapped for toe against some of these.
4 Chestnut Fire – On a hat-trick after back to back wins here over this trip including a tidy 3 length winner here 30 days ago. Up in the weights again but travels easily through his races and should benefit from hold up tactics again in his bid for a hat-trick. Player.
5 Have A Nice Day – Has won here 3 times before but largely out of form since last win at the Curragh in July when scoring by half a length over 7f. Has never won beyond that and only 10th of 14 on last start here in October. Hard to fancy.
6 Aussie Valentine – Won a Maiden here on second career start and only half a length second on last start here in March. Raced mainly on turf since and has been off for 166 days. Wears tongue-strap today and best watched on reappearance.
7 Northern Surprise – Showed career-best form last year to land a hat-trick of wins here including two at 7f and one over 1m. Fair form in two subsequent runs and twelfth of 14 on comeback run in October after 6 months off. Bit high in the Handicap at the moment but should come on for his last run and not discounted in this field.
8 Captain Cullen – Has won here twice before but not for a couple of years and his last win came at the Curragh last October when landing a 5f (Good) Handicap by 1 ½ lengths. Out of for since but was an unlucky second here two weeks ago, losing out by a nose to multiple turf winner Plough Boy. Never won over 1m and others look stronger.
9 Reckless Lad – Second behind the re-opposing Red Avenger three weeks ago over this trip and bit of a course specialist having won here five times before. This is a better race than the race they contested but likely to get closer to that rival this time and each-way claims.
10 Red Avenger – Previously trained by Ed Dunlop for whom he won a valuable Handicap at Goodwood two years ago achieving a 100 rating in the process before moving to Gary Moore although didn’t show much in seven runs. Had first run since leaving that yard when a three-quarter length winner to the re-opposing Reckless Lad but form prior to that uninspiring and may have a hard time following up here off this mark with that rival likely to be closer this time.
11 He’s Our Music – Has landed three claiming races in the last few weeks from 1m-1m2f, winning in good style by two-and-half lengths last time out. Close fifth behind Red Avenger (1st) and Reckless Lad (2nd) the time before that but shapes as if he will keep improving given the way he travels and he is expected to go close despite being 3lb out of the Handicap. Has joined Dusty Sheehy who does well with these types and big player.
12 Pullman Brown – Never won on the AW and well held on last two stars here. Only ninth of 22 at Leopardstown in October and 6lb out of the Handicap now to boot. Hard to fancy for win or place purposes.