Tag Archives: Dundalk

Sunday Selections: April, 14th 2019

Iron Major Dundalk

Finally a winning selection! Cappananty Con (8/1) did a nice job to land the spoils at Wolverhampton, albeit in a desperately tight finish. Betting wise I needed that, as it was not a good week and some of my decisions were poor.

Memo to myself: stop backing newcomers, regardless how “sexy” they look on paper. It’s not a viable long-term investment!

It’s a bleak Sunday for racing. Little there to excite. Certainly on the domestic front. All the negative talk about Dundalk’s surface, it seemingly shows to impact field sizes today. At least over in France, the return of Persian King is something to look forward to!


4.15 Dundalk: Handicap, 1m 4f

This looks a poor race on paper and that leaves the door wide open for top weight Construct making a winning debut for his new yard. He was a rather expensive purchase out of Ralph Beckett’s, formerly running in the famous Juddmonte colours.

Construct comes here fresh off a break, in the meantime having been gelded as well, a first time tongue tie spotted is interesting as a bit of money seems to be arriving in the market also.

Form wise he’s the one to beat in my mind. He was well on top winning a minor 3-runner-handicap last summer at Pontefract, but followed up on the All-Weather in two hot contests, finishing creditable runner-up at Chelmsford and Kempton respectively – the form as been upgraded significantly in the meantime.

A mark off 78 doesn’t leave a lot of wriggle room, to be perfectly honest, nonetheless. Construct may still have a bit of improvement left, though – if change of scenery and the gelding has had any positive effect.

10pts win – Construct @ 8/1 Coral


5.20 Dundalk: Handicap, 1m2½f

Quite Subunctious is a frustrating sort to follow as, despite looking dangerous on a number of occasions and showing a little bit of promise – his 2.5l sixth-place-finish at Galway off a 59 handicap mark for example – he can’t get his head in front. He came desperately close at Wolverhampton in February, only swooped late to lose the race on the line.

Even though it was a poor race, this performance of a mark off 48 handed him a TS rating of 47, which looks not too far off the mark judged how the race has worked out since then (winner and third have followed up with fair performances next time out).

The 4-year-old gelding hasn’t looked the same in his subsequent starts, however his Newcastle run can be upgraded in my mind. Quite Subunctious made way too much, leading the field by half a dozen lengths turning for home; as the last time, two miles were simply too far.

The drop in trip should suit, given Quite Subunctious showed his best form in and around a mile in the past, even though showing a couple of additional furlongs aren’t an issue.

He’s got the assistance of a 7lb claimer who hasn’t won a race in quite some time; nonetheless, if on a going day, this weight allowance can be quite handy.

I’m under no illusion Quite Subunctious may never win a race, but in this poor contest, I can make a good argument for him being overpriced, judged on above facts.

10pts win – Quite Subunctious @ 34/1 MB


Boonga Roogeta a prime chance at Chelmsford

Iron Major Dundalk

6.40 Chelmsford: Class 4 Handicap, 1m

This looks an uncompetitive affair where only a couple have legitimate credentials to go close. I feel Moonlight Venture is one of those, despite a long losing run. He is down to handy weight though and with blinkers fitted could be ready for a big run.

Fantasy Gladiator has been in excellent form all year long, so can’t be discounted. He hasn’t been quite as good in his last two starts but is the sort to bounce back. That says off his current mark he has not much room for error and needs to have everything fall right.

Only once out of the top three in the last ten starts, Shifting Star has to be taken seriously. He won a Windsor when last seen and now back on the the All-Weather is not an inconvenience. Only 2lb higher today he should go close but strike rate on the AW isn’t quite that exciting and he has to be at his very best to win.

Never underestimate a Richard Hannon Runner, so Steal The Scene as the only three year old in the race is an interesting contender. He has only won over the shorter 6f & 7f trips so far and that means he might be vulnerable over this additional furlong today.

No doubt Boonga Roogeta is the horse to beat here in my mind. The mare has had a fine season with two wins here at the Chelmsford All-Weather. She won a class 4 Handicap over 10f against the boys and landed a valuable class 2 Fillies Handicap over 1m in June.

She is best suited to 10f usually, so the trip is sharp enough. However given that she is a CD winner, and the fact that there is plenty of pace expected in this race, it must not be a problem. It is true that Boonga Roogeta likes to make all but she doesn’t necessarily has to. When she won here the last time she was tracking a brisk pace. The same scenario could happen here today.

With the visor back on, a good apprentice in the saddle, and the mare being on a mark 1lb below when she won here in June, I believe she has an absolute prime chance to win this contest.

Boonga Roogeta @ 5/1 Paddy Power – 10pts Win


8.00 Dundalk: 47-75 Handicap, 1m

Plenty of question marks over most runners in this field ad the market reflects exactly that with 10 times maiden Will Excel the 4/1 favourite at the moment. The three year old has been five times placed though and that gives him a prime chance on his handicap debut off a fair mark. The new trip may bring out a bit of improvement as well.

Not a Bad Oul Day has won his last two starts, both over 7f, and hasn’t been seen for roughly half a year. Hard to know what to expect from him off a career highest mark over a trip potentially stretching his stamina.

The only other horse that really makes appeal as a win candidate is Iron Major. The veteran loves Dundalk an won here a similar handicap back in April. He’s 4lb below that winning mark now, although the young apprentice in the saddle who rode him back then and now has lost 3lb of his claim in the meantime.

Nonetheless Iron Major is obviously on a very dangerous mark now and that makes him a prime contender. The question mark is the trip. He’s certainly most effective over 7f and 1m stretches his stamina – but he has winning form over course and distance.

In this poor race I give him a good chance therefore. He certainly will be involved in the finish. If he gets there when it matters, we will find out.

Iron Major @ 6/1 Paddy Power – 5pts Win

Sunday Selections – Dundalk


3.10 Dundalk: Handicap. 6f

A really competitive sprint handicap on the Dundalk All-Weather with 107 rated Russian Soul topping the field. However not many seem to be well handicapped today. Certainly not the three top weights.

Progressive Have A Nice Day is a fair favourite, given he has been in splendid form lately and may still be on the upward. The drop in trip is against him though. Consistent Master Speaker has found a way to get his head in front this year. Can he do it again? I wouldn’t bet on it.

Togoville loves it on the All-Weather. The trip should be too sharp but off his current mark he has a chance if he could lead at a pace that suits him. Ger Lyons’ Trinity Force responded well to the change in trip and first time blinkers the last time. He can be competitive today again, although his trainer voiced slight concerns over the slow surface.

I’m most intrigued by old boy An Saighdiur who may have found a good opportunity to score. He certainly acts around here, is is a course specialist who’s best over 6f and while he didn’t set the world alight in recent weeks, he’s dropped to a dangerous mark. He was a good 3rd in a Naas Handicap earlier this year off an 8lb higher mark. So I feel he is overpriced today.

An Saighdiur @ 14/1 Sportingbet – 5pts Win


4.15 Dundalk: Handicap, 1m 2f 150y

Despite a wide draw and the drop in trip potentially not quite suitable, Botany Bay makes appeal to me big time. Forgive him his latest run, he is better judged on his penultimate start when winning a hot Handicap at Down Royal, which is extremely strong form given how it worked out subsequently. Botany Bay is still learning the game could have easily more offer from his current mark.

Botany Bay @ 8/1 Betfred – 5pts Win

Escapism a massive price on Handicap Debut


Yesterday afternoon at around 5pm I was pretty depressed…. but then came Dartmouth who got me out of the hole with his dominant success at Ascot. What started like a bleak day, ended in modest 10pts profit. Could have been better if not for hitting the post twice. Lightning Spear in particular was unlucky, as he ran into all sorts of trouble in the home straight.

3.45 Dundalk: Handicap (57-75), 7f

Good racing at Dundalk’s All-Weather today. The 7f handicap looks an intriguing contest. Favourite Ishebayorgrey has been a model of consistency and can race off the same mark as when he won a good 6f race at Leopardstown last month. Though he appears to be vulnerable over this trip; the additional furlong seems to stretch his stemina.

Some lightly raced and potentially well handicapped sorts can make their presence felt. Most interesting is Escapism on her handicap debut, however. The John Oxx charge has done not too badly in maiden races, most notably eleven days ago in a hot sprint. She travelled well but seemed to be out-sprinted in the closing stages.

She steps up to 7f now which should certainly suit on pedigree. Both sire and dam have won over this trip; in fact she is not badly bred at all. An opening mark of 66 is lenient in my eyes, given her most recent performance and the potential improvement to come over this trip. The All-Weather surface won’t be an issue either.

Escapism @ 7/1 Paddy Power – 5pts Win


4.15 Dundalk: Marshes Handicap, 5f

Ultra competitive race with plenty of pace – it should be fast and furious. You can’t discount anyone lightly here, but Ger Lyons’ Ardhoomey is particularly well fancied in the betting after a good performance in a hot Curragh Premier Handicap. He did well to finish 4th from the position he came from and gets help from the handicapper who drops him below a mark of 100 now: his wind problems in the past are a concern, though.

My Good Brother showed a return to form when an unlucky fourth at Fairyhouse. He is down to a handy mark and should go close. Lightly raced Urbestchance is interesting here, dropping in trip on her handicap debut. She is open to any amount of progress.

Old boy Russian Soul will have to overcome a wide draw in order to get to the front in a race where competition for the lead is likely to be fierce. The big weight is even more likely to stop him anyway. Prince Connoisseur hasn’t been any good this year so far but slipped down to a dangerous mark if back to his best.

I really do like Kimbay, who appears to be overpriced. She has been very progressive the last two seasons, and it didn’t stop this year as she got close on her seasonal reappearance and then took advantage of a drop to her prefered 5f trip at Tipperary. Forgive her last performance at the Curragh where she wasn’t in a good position.

She has been dropped 3lb for that and is now effectively only 4lb above her last winning mark. She could be still well in, particularly today where she is returning to Dundalk’s All-Weather. She is unbeaten in three starts over course and distance and should be a major player of her low weight here.

Kimbay @ 9/1 Bet365 – 5pts Win


4.50 Dundalk: Conditions Race, 1m 1f

Only three runners, and with Xebec exposed as a mid-80 rated handicapper, this should be a match between Outspoken and Don Camillo.

Outspoken was a fair runner-up behind stable mate Archangel Raphael. He is very lightly raced and open to further improvement, the switch to the All-Weather may not be an inconvenience. Says the slight drop in trip is not sure to suit given how one-paced he looked as well as easily outpaced one the tempo of the race increased turning for home. He’s clearly no superstar.

Dermot Weld’s Don Camillo was utterly disappointing last week in a listed event at Roscommon. However the race itself was a strange one, so was the ground. He was eased in the closing stages and may be better judged on what he did before. He wasn’t disgraced in Group company at Royal Ascot, and I liked what he did on the Dundalk All-Weather before.

He won here a maiden in great fashion and travelled all over older & more experienced rivals in a Handicap off a mid-90 mark the next time. He was outstayed eventually but should have learned plenty.

He was thought to be good enough to warrant an entry for the US Triple Crown series earlier this year, though he didn’t take it up eventually. Nonetheless quite well bred, by a Breeders Cup Classic winner, Don Camillo is likely to relish this trip and the surface. With a visor fitted for the first time, he can be sharper in the closing stages now.

Don Camillo @ 11/4 Sportingbet – 5pts Win

Kempton: Exciting Majeed Bound To Progress!

Dundalk All-Weather

Dundalk seems to become a happy hunting ground these days – Cape Wolfe travelled all over the opposition and won it quite easily in the end. A nice 12/1 winner… much needed! The Ger Lyons inmate is Royal Ascot bound now.

7.40 Kempton: Class 3 Handicap, 1m 3f

The flat season is in full flight, yet we have some really interesting racing on Kempton’s All-Weather tonight. This intriguing Class 3 Handicap for four year olds and older horses appears to be an open enough contest with seven out of the ten runners having previously won at this venue.

The betting suggests Andre Balding’s lightly raced Smiling Stranger is the one to beat and won’t lack fitness after 291 days off the track. He showed some promise in maidens last year, though was found out for class on his handicap debut. Gelded over the winter, he could be one with plenty of improvement to come, given a fair handicap mark. Personally I wouldn’t like to be on him at 5/2 though. Despite all the positives there are also a couple of question marks and such a short price doesn’t represent value in my eyes.

Equally lightly raced Majeed didn’t show any rustiness to land a Chelmsford Handicap in March coming off a 1½ year long break. The five year old had obvious problems in the past but looked big and strong at Chelmsford. He travelled off the pace and had plenty enough to do 2f out but really motored home in impressive style. Only 3lb up, with a very useful 5lb claimer in the saddle today, he looks a major player with further improvement likely to come off a potentially lenient mark.

From the former course winners, Double Discount can’t be ruled out. He’s weighted to be competitive if he is back to his best. Jacob Cats won a CD Handicap in March and on that form must rate a danger. The Gay Cavalier loves it around Kempton and should be a big runner if he can bounce back from his last poor run. All-Weather specialist Troopingthecolour is rated below his last winning mark but has to find back some form. First time cheek-pieces may help him. All of these have plenty of questions to answer, though.

Verdict: I like the favourite’s profile. If Smiling Stranger is fit after the break, he could be hard to beat off a fair mark now as a gelding. But from a value perspective lightly raced Majeed makes more appeal. He’s also on a very fair mark and has the assistance of a very good apprentice, which effectively sees him racing off 2lb lower than when winning at Chelmsford. I was really impressed with that performance and 9/2 looks a big price in this field.

Majeed @ 9/2 Paddy Power – 5pts Win

Dundalk: Cape Wolfe can make experience count

Dundalk Motions

7.10 Dundalk: Handicap, 3yo, 7f

Pretty good race for a dreary Tuesday night on the Dundalk All-Weather. Some good sorts with top form going to post – a tight finish can be expected!

Interestingly, the well fancied contenders have all one thing in common: They all won over further the last time and drop down to seven furlongs. With the exception of Ishebayorgrey who won over 6f recently and found further trips stretching him.

Against those runners, the Ger Lyons trained Cape Wolfe appears to be overpriced. He performed well in a couple of hot maidens last season and was only beaten in the final strides when last seen at Gowran Park, while travelling really well. This form works out really well and despite a 2lb rise in the mark, on balance Cape Wolf could be a bit better than that.

The switch the All-Weather should be fine and a good draw gives him every chance to be well positioned. He can make his experience count and is a better chance than his price tag suggests.

Cape Wolfe @ 12/1 Coral – 5pts win

Friday Night at Dundalk: Report + Photos

Dundalk last night has been great! As always – I have to say. It never disappoints. Of course it helps if your 10/1 selection goes in, though! It was my third visit to Ireland’s only All-Weather track. The course is often hailed by trainers for its consistently excellent surface. Well maintained, not much kick-back, and with the false rail installed it is a fair track to race on these days.

Punters alike favour the track because the form stands up and most importantly you can see some good horses in action as well, usually in the feature race on the night. So happened yesterday, as outlined in my preview. The Irish Stallion Farms E.B.F. Race saw some really nice sorts going to post and it promised to be a real cracker. It didn’t disappoint! A three runner photo finish – exciting stuff!

Postulation held on to win it for Dermot Weld and Pat Smullen. He finished a good runner-up behind subsequent John F Kennedy conqueror Success Days – so no surprise to see him going close here. Favourite Queen Nefertiti finished only third – but she should come on for the run and looked well in the parade ring before, like a filly that has clearly trained on.


Runner-up The Happy Prince for Aiden O’Brien in hands of his son Joseph travelled like the winner until the furlong marker, but didn’t quite find enough in the end. Yet he followed-up with a good performance on his recent Limerick success and is a nice type for the future.

Shannon Soul was beaten in fourth but was clearly the most impressive individual in the parade ring. Put him in your tracker, he may be able to win a nice race soon.

Kilimanjaro was a nice winner for the O’Brien team in the last race on the card. He contested in two hot maidens last season, showed himself much improved on his second start back then, but really made visually a good impression here at Dundalk in the parade ring. He won the maiden over the extended 10f trip in good fashion, really seemed to get rolling in the closing stages. He has a Derby entry. You wouldn’t expect him to be good enough. But the first time hood helped and sometimes these O’Brien horses can improve explosively, as we all know.


Personal highlight on the card was undoubtedly the win of Iron Major. If you read my preview yesterday, you know I tipped him to win at 10/1 – and he obliged duly. Inexperienced 10lb claimer Oisin Orr delivered a confident ride from the back of the field and went through an open gape 2f out. Iron Major found plenty when asked for an effort and was clearly well handicapped, as imagined beforehand.

Iron Major
Iron Major

Dundalk All-Weather