Horse Racing Tips: Fran Berry’s 8 best bets for Dundalk on Friday night

Sporting Life's top columnist Fran Berry guides you through all the Irish all-weather action.

Fran berry Dundalk


* All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.

Dundalk 15:45 – FIRST BLOOD

A very good two-mile handicap for the grade where I’ll go with an unexposed runner in FIRST BLOOD who is trained by Joseph O’Brien. He hasn’t been seen since August 21 when fourth at Sligo to Ten Ten in a race that has worked out very well. Stepping up in trip, from a good draw in stall one, it could be a day to remember for 10lb claimer Cian Horgan who is looking for his first winner.


Dundalk 16:15 – WHITE MARLIN 

An apprentice handicap over 1m 4f is the second race and this looks very tough where you can make a case for plenty of them. I’ll go for another Jospeh O’Brien-trained runner in WHITE MARLIN, ridden by Paddy Hartnett. He’s only had the one run when a ready winner of a maiden at this venue last month. He gets in here off a mark of 80 and could be better than his mark as he’s open to a lot more improvement on just his second start.

Dundalk 16:45 – LYRA BELACQUA

An older horses’ maiden where there’s not a lot of strength-in-depth.  Adrian McGuiness’ Gold Wing ran well last Friday when sixth to Everyhouronthehour over this trip but it’s Dermot Weld’s LYRA BELACQUA who was a neck behind him that time who caught my eye. She wears blinkers for the first time as she didn’t seem to follow through with her effort last week, so the headgear may just sharpen her up. Coincidentally, her dam won at this track when the blinkers were fitted. Up in trip and back in maiden company she can give a sloid account of herself, despite having a bit to find on the ratings.

Dundalk 17:15 – DRISH MELODY

The only previous winner in this 7f apprentice handicap is DRISH MELODY who was impressive here last month, when winning as a 50/1 shot. He went up 7lbs for that win but most of his rivals are out of form. Paddy Harnett claims 2lbs off his back and he can go in again at the expense of Sangria who will need to bounce back to form.

Dundalk 17:45 – SPIRIT & GLORY 

A 1m three-year-old fillies’ maiden where Dermot Weld’s nicely-bred Forgetmenotblue could be a popular choice, but the stable’s two-years-olds tend to take a run before being seen at their best. The one to beat is Mick Mulvany’s Spirit and Glory who put in a couple of good runs last month behind the colts and drops back in against the fillies now. From a good draw in stall four with Wesley Joyce claiming 7bs, she could take a bit of beating now.


Dundalk 18:15 – THE CHURCHILL LAD

A one-mile maiden for three-year-old’s where Joseph O’Brien is triple handed. The pick of those could be THE CHURCHILL LAD who ran well on debut to finish sixth to the well-supported Vina Sena having been trapped on the outside for most of that contest. He should improve for that experience and with Jake Coen’s valuable 7lb claim and a decent draw in stall eight, can be right in the mix. He’s my nap of the night. One to keep an eye on is Mick Halford’s Askarabad, who is also running for just the second time.

Dundalk 18:45 – ADAPT TO DAN

The conditions of this one-mile handicap are a little odd as it’s only open to horses who weren’t placed on their last start. You could argue that a few of these were a little unlucky not to hit the frame last time so the likes of Praying Mantis, Blankiedoodie, Burning Lake and Fox Leicester. The one I’ll side with though is ADAPT TO DAN who won off this mark at Bellewstown last summer. He didn’t quite see out the 10f trip last time but back down to a mile now from stall five, he looks the one to beat.

Dundalk 19:15 – BRIGHT GLORY

The finale is Division II of the mil handicap and a trappy race considering the conditions. Indiana Grey, Jackmel and Philly’s Hope all have their chance, but I’ll plump for the less unexposed BRIGHT GLORY trained by Mick Halford. He’s been gelded since his last couple runs and could be a player under Niall McCullagh.

Friday’s Dundalk tips:

18:45 – ADAPT TO DAN

* All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.




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