FRIENDLY is given another chance to break her maiden in this 7-furlong fillies maiden at Dundalk on Friday evening for trainer Aidan O’Brien and jockey Wayne Lordan.
She’s having her fourth career start, having finished fourth on debut at the Curragh in June before a second-place effort at Leopardstown and a more recent third at Naas eight days ago. She tried to dominate from the front at Naas behind winner Sense of Style and another front-running ride looks on the cards from a positive draw in stall three under Lordan.
The opposition looks interesting with Paddy Twomey’s Fantasy Lady stepping up in trip following her debut fourth at Cork, while Sister Rosetta represents Ger Lyons who won this maiden twice in the past four years.
Sheer Chance for Joseph O’Brien, Himalayan Beauty for Jessica Harrington and Dermot Weld’s Zumoradda are others with experience who might run well. Elsewhere, jockey Shane Foley takes the ride on the Harrington newcomer Stardayz from a wide draw, while Joseph O’Brien runs Fastnet Rock filly Sincerest on debut for joint owners Sue-Anne Foley and the Magnier family – any market support for either should be noted.
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Shane Foley is now in a serious battle with former champion Colin Keane for this year’s jockeys title and can hopefully secure victory here with FEELING TIP TOP for Jessica Harrington in this 7-furlong auction maiden. The son of Elzaam finished fourth on debut behind Chaterhouse in August before a more recent third at Down Royal earlier this month. He’s drawn nicely in stall four for connections and perhaps only has the Joseph O’Brien-trained Prairie Dancer to beat. The O’Brien challenger returns quickly having finished second yet again four days ago at Fairyhouse behind the Harrington-trained Choice And Chance.
Urban Step and Styledome do battle again following runs in a claimer at Naas eight-days ago for both Johnny Murtagh and Sheila Lavery, while any market support for the Denis Hogan-trained Ceapach Rua would be interesting. The son of Fast Company wasn’t beaten too far when down the field on debut behind Fight Zone at Naas, while Too Bright could improve for his recent run at Navan for Colin Keane and Noel Meade.
Elsewhere, Cali Bay, Inca Prince, Chavajod and Hair of Gold are newcomers who cannot be fully dismissed with the market once again providing us with the best guide to success.
Aidan O’Brien’s excellent record in the Diamond Stakes makes it hard to side against VATICAN CITY in the feature race this Friday evening with Wayne Lordan once again in the saddle. The three-year-old is officially rated the best horse here (111) and has solid form this season, including an excellent second to Siskin in the Irish 2000 Guineas at the Curragh in June. He was outclassed in both the Epsom Derby and Sussex Stakes at Goodwood before returning for an autumn campaign and finishing third behind Safe Voyage in the Boomerang Mile at Leopardstown.
I think the step up in trip will suit this Friday evening with the former maiden winner here at Dundalk should have enough in the locker to see off Crossfirehurricane from the Joseph O’Brien stable. The Scott Heider-owned runner has managed two victories here at Dundalk, including the Patton Stakes in February, but has not been seen since the Irish Derby in June.
Elsewhere, Bowerman is having another good season for Ado McGuineass and should run well, while Joseph O’Brien’s other runner Bolleville might reach the frame following her fourth behind Cayenne Pepper in the Blandford Stakes.
My final selection on Friday night at Dundalk comes in the last race on the card, a 1-mile 4-furlong handicap where AUMA can give trainer Jim Bolger and jockey Kevin Manning another winner. The Bolger team are in good form at present and this filly can benefit from a good draw in stall 6 to find a good forward position and kick from the front in the closing stages. She was only headed late on at Cork when second to Universal Focus and she might get an easy lead here with Manning setting the fractions to perfection and securing victory in the lucky last.
Pure Nature has the benefit of Gavin Ryan in the saddle yet again following recent place efforts at both Roscommon and Cork, while the consistent Newgirlintown should run another solid race for Ger O’Leary and Shane Foley.
Elsewhere, Thefaithfulindian is another who can’t be discounted for Aidan Howard, with Harvey Specter, Miss Louise and Franno all in the mix. It’s a wide-open handicap as you would expect for Dundalk, but Auma for the Bolger team might just have enough stamina to find plenty from the front and go close to victory.
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Dundalk bet summary – Friday, September 25
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