Big Weekend Fundalk Returns


Friday, September 20, 2019
Fundalk

Fundalk returns

The return of racing on the all-weather at Dundalk signals the onset of winter and while not too many of us will relish the cold and rain that invariably comes with it, plenty of horses and their connections will be licking their lips back on the polytrack. 

Among those is the Aidan O’Brien-trained Dunkirk Harbour, who won his maiden at the Louth venue in April and is looking to score in the Servisource Education Support Race (8.05). 

Simsir should provide a stern challenge though, coming off his maiden success at Cork 19 days ago on what was the three-year-old’s belated racecourse debut. It isn’t unusual for Aga Khan-bred horses to need time and trainer Michael Halford has been farming Dundalk a long time now, so the Zoffany gelding must be respected. 

Tony The Gent is another interesting contender. A fantastic servant for Ger Lyons, the six-year-old is having his second run for trainer Denis Hogan and owner James McAuley, who are also represented by Yuften. 

Aussie Valentine is making a quick return to the track under seven-pound claimer Stephen Mooney, after finishing second in the Pat Smullen Champions Race for CancerTrials Ireland with Ruby Walsh doing the steering at the Curragh last Sunday. Ado McGuinness’ horses are thriving all season and the eight-year-old should make a bold bid for honours.

Give me some Candy

We can safely assume that Paolo Nutini was not singing about the classic-winning trainer when penning the lyrics to his hit single Candy but Henry Candy sure knows how to grasp the sweeties when they’re on offer, and has done so with a degree success in Ireland. 

It is eight years since he last entered the winner’s enclosure over here however, when Amour Propre got the better of none other than Eddie Lynam’s Group 1-winning machine Sole Power in what was then the Group 3 Flying Five Stakes at the Curragh. 

The Kingston Warren trainer seeks to end that drought, although that is a bit strong a term given he has only had two runners on Irish soil in the meantime, with Queen of Time in the Group 3 Denny Cordell Lavarack & Lanwades Stud Fillies Stakes (4.15) at Gowran Park tomorrow. 

The five-year-old mare is a three-time victor, coming off a disappointing effort when a well-beaten sixth of six in a Listed 10-furlong contest at Salisbury last month. Having won at the same track on firm ground in July, albeit in handicap company, it is safe to assume that the underfoot conditions were not to her suiting on that occasion and that the current good, good to firm at Gowran will be right down her alley. 

On ratings, she has a bit to find to get the better of the Aidan O’Brien’s Galileo fillies Credenza and Frosty, as well as the Willie McCreery-trained Tipitena, but given how rare Candy’s recent excursions have been on these shores, she must be taken seriously, and the employment of Oisín Orr is notable indeed.  

 

Mullins model paying dividends

Emmet Mullins has made an instant impact since turning his hand to training. The former Cheltenham-winning jockey has shown a good eye at the sales as well as a nose for value, turning some relatively cheap purchases into profitable sales. 

The Carlow-based handler, who trains across the road from his Uncle Willie, has proven particularly adept at spotting opportunities in other countries, with Fujimoto Flyer bagging a Listed prize over hurdles in Auteuil (France) recently under his first cousin, Danny. 

It is notable then that he sends The Last Emperor to Hamilton Park in Scotland for the Top Cat Window Blinds “Hopes N Dreams” Selling Stakes (3.30) on Sunday. The five-year-old is well in on ratings and leading British pilot Danny Tudhope has been engaged. 

Closer to home, Mullins runs King Of The Throne in his own colours in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden (2.05) at his local Gowran Park track. 

Aidan O’Brien and Dermot Weld have major contenders in Arthur’s Kingdom and Taramansour but King Of The Throne had a nice racecourse introduction when a nine-length fourth of 12 to subsequent Group 2 victor Mogul. The runner-up on that occasion, Shekhem has also won since, so we can expect a bold bid for honours.

The return of racing on the all-weather at Dundalk signals the onset of winter and while not too many of us will relish the cold and rain that invariably comes with it, plenty of horses and their connections will be licking their lips back on the polytrack.

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