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Action at Dundalk on Monday gets underway with the opening division of a 1m 4f handicap where GRIFFYNDOR can finally produce some magic to score for trainer John McConnell. The six-year-old has yet to win after 19-career starts, but drops 4lbs in the ratings with jockey Siobhan Rutledge taking off a further 7lbs on Monday.
The son of Dragon Pulse returns from a break having finished fourth over course and distance back in October. He travelled well into the straight under Rory Cleary before waiting for room and staying on nicely on that occasion.
I’m hoping John McConnell can strike again quickly and land the second division of the 1m 4f handicap with EMPIRE STREET. The lightly raced four-year-old finished behind both Dawn Patrol and Gold Maze in maiden company last season and returns here after finishing fourth at Thurles in October.
Gary Carroll is back in the saddle with a drop of 4lbs in the ratings and cheekpieces fitted for the first-time today. He stayed on nicely to finish a good fourth at Thurles and the son of Galileo has a good each-way chance running off a new mark of 58.
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It might be worth taking a punt with PAYCHECK on her Irish debut for in-form trainer Adrian McGuinness in this 6-furlong maiden. The four-year-old failed to win after six starts in the UK for David Simcock and she hasn’t been seen since finishing down the field in novice company at Chelmsford in October.
She moved to the Lusk-based trainer in mid-December and might be able to pay her way already on her opening start for the stable. Having been placed three-times in the UK over 7 furlongs, she drops to 6 furlongs here and has a nice draw in stall 1 with Cian MacRedmond taking off 7lbs.
Elsewhere, Glow Worm might use up too much energy getting to the front from a wide draw in stall 14 and fade away late on under Joey Sheridan. Woodrow with a similar profile is another who likes to race forward and both leading contenders might set this up for a late challenge from Paycheck.
The experience of a previous run might prove the key factor here with VISUALISATION getting the verdict for Joseph O’Brien to win this 7-furlong maiden. The son of No Nay Never was green when racing out the back on debut here in November before staying on to finish sixth, only beaten 4-and-a-half lengths behind Chicago Bear in November.
Despite a wide draw in stall 14, that experience and natural improvement from a first to second start could be good enough to secure victory here under Declan McDonagh. Elsewhere, Star Harbour looks an interesting runner on debut for Phoenix Thoroughbreds and Adrian McGuinness. The son of Sea The Stars once sold for €400,000 at the Goffs Orby Sale in October 2019 and is related to a couple of winners, Reticent Angel and Mind Of Madness.
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