Stick with Exhortation

Take a chance on Exhortation to make it third-time-lucky for Dermot Weld and Pat Smullen in the Irish Stallion Farms Maiden in Dundalk tonight.

A Zamindar colt, he contested a decent Leopardstown maiden on his debut last September and, having dictated the pace, finished third behind the useful Akeem Mofeed and Athens.

Prince Khalid Abdullah’s colt wasn’t seen again until six weeks ago, over seven furlongs at tonight’s venue. An uneasy favourite, he tracked the leaders before coming through to lead with less than two furlongs to race.

Pat Smullen appeared to have everything under control. But Exhortation came under pressure at the furlong-pole and was collared close home and beaten a half-length by Suehail, which went on to be beaten a couple of noses, off a mark of 81, in a Killarney handicap on Tuesday.

Drawn low again and, significantly dropping down to six furlongs, Exhortation should take plenty of beating tonight, although Michael Halford’s Multitasking and John Oxx’s filly Wasabi’s House, no match for Ahaaly over this course and distance last month, are obvious threats.

Aidan O’Brien introduces Gale Force Ten in the opening, five-runner 2-Y-0 Maiden. And the son of Oasis Dream, a £280,000 yearling purchase, won’t have to be a champion to make a winning debut.

The Ballydoyle colt is preferred to Tommy Stack’s Almanack, which showed definite signs of inexperience on his debut over this course and distance two weeks ago, when third to talented but quirky Tennessee Wildcat and subsequent Cork winner Versilia Gal.

The only other non-handicap on tonight’s card is the Louth Rated Race for which Jessica Harrington’s dual course-winner Fairy Wing has definite claims.

Successful in handicaps off 61 and 69 respectively, Fairy Wings then started favourite for a seven furlong handicap at Leopardstown in late March, but managed only fifth position behind Vastitas.

Back on an artificial surface, Fran Berry’s mount should go close.

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