Friday’s feature race at Dundalk is a two mile handicap worth an impressive €24,000. Read on for our expert betting tips and runner by runner preview.
It could well prove to be telling that Shane Foley rides the JP McManus owned Carried for Prunella Dobbs as his retainer Mick Halford has a runner in the race. That is not going to put us off though; Mick’s runner VENEZIA has outstanding claims at the weights and will more than likely have been saved for this big pot. This 5 year old Galileo gelding will be fit from three runs over hurdles during the past two months which include two third place finishes. He won a maiden here at Dundalk over 1m 2f in 2014 and is now 13 pounds lower in the weights since his last run at the track back in April. He looks extremely well treated for a trainer who farms this place and he won the valuable handicap here on Wednesday night with Chestnut Fire.
1 MANDATARIO – Course and distance winner back in February winning a four runner contest and won a fairly valuable handicap at Leopardstown in the summer. Well beat on all of his latest four starts and still looks high enough in the weights. In good hands with Jim Bolger though and course form is always a plus.
2 ALTON BAY – Peter Fahey trained 8 year old who is having his very first start on the All Weather which has to raise doubts. The booking of Pat Smullen has to be a huge plus but he doesn’t look particularly well treated at the moment. The verdict is to oppose but would never dismiss a horse Smullen is riding.
3 TARA DYLAN – Still only a 4 year old filly but she has had plenty of racing under her belt. She was highly progressive in the summer, landing handicaps at Leopardstown, Galway and Roscommon. Beat a combined 63 lengths on her latest three starts though so needs to bounce back.
4 TO CHOOSE – Probably the deserved favourite off the back of two fine successes here at Dundalk over a mile and a half and course specialist Colin Keane is booked for the ride. Up another 4 pounds for beating Poitin by half a length a couple of weeks ago but looks a massive player if the trip doesn’t stretch him. (Won over 2m 1f in the past so trip should be fine)
5 CARRIED – JP McManus owned 6 year old by Footstepsinthesand so if there is any market support for this runner it could be very telling. It is also worth noting that the Mick Halford stable jockey Shane Foley is riding this horse ahead of Venezia. Won here off 76 earlier in the year and is only one pound higher now. Weighted to reverse the form with To Choose, 1.25 lengths behind him giving him 7 pounds back in October and there’s an 11 pound swing in the weights here which is pretty massive.
6 WINTER LION – Matthew Smith trained 6 year old Galileo gelding who has the in form Wayne Lordan in the saddle. Ran at Dundalk on his first three career starts and never ran any sort of race so the surface would have to be a concern. Would need to see some significant market support.
7 MACNICHOLSON – Placed over two and a half miles over hurdles so the trip certainly won’t be a concern here. Third over this course and distance last year and this is only his third start on the all weather so there could well be more improvement to come off the same mark (75). Each way player.
8 VENEZIA – Mick Halford is the Dundalk king so any time you see a horse of his entered in a valuable race, more than likely it has been trained with the big pot in mind. This horse is thrown in at the weights, receives weight from the whole field and has winning course form to boot. Huge player.