Newcomer Aggression leaves it late to land gamble

Trainer Michael O’Callaghan landed the opening two-year-old maiden in Dundalk last night, not with 13/8 favourite Knoxville Bullet but with the gambled-on debutant Aggression.

Backed from as big as 16/1 in the morning and sent off at 5/1, Aggression came through late under Emmet McNamara to foil Sassy But Classy and the 13/8 favourite in a blanket-finish.

O’Callaghan admitted: “I was confident the other horse wouldn’t be beaten and that this fellow was a bit short fitness-wise. He was sick, with a dirty lung, and is only on the way back. But he has always shown plenty of speed at home and is a nice horse – he has a touch of class and a lot of raw speed.

“We’ll put him away now and he should make a nice sprinter, on fast ground, next year. Of course, like all of ours, he’s for sale.”

It was a night to remember for Georgios Pakidis (42), who rode in his native Greece and spent six years training in America before setting up base in Kilmore, County Armagh, as he saddled his first winner in Ireland when Togoville (Gary Carroll) landed the one-mile Crowne Plaza Rated Race, holding the late challenge of The Dancing Lord by a half-length.

Successful over course and distance on his penultimate start, the Andy Oliver-trained Whip Up A Frenzy (Fran Berry) defied top-weight in the seven-furlong nursery, readily keeping Rest Assured at bay.

“He was much better tonight,” said Oliver. “I expected him to win the last day and I still don’t know what happened. Fran was pleased with him. There’s nothing else for him, so he’ll have a break.”

Oliver completed a double when newcomer Tom Melbourne, ridden by Chris Hayes, bolted-up in the Floodlit Friday Nights At Dundalk Maiden, stretching clear in the final furlong to beat the odds-on favourite Carrie Bow Cay by almost five lengths.

“We think he’s a very good horse, at least we hope so,” said Oliver. “He’s inexperienced and still very green, but he’s a horse to look forward to next year.”

Gordon Elliott, who will saddle Balbriggan for today’s Becher Chase in Aintree, won the finale, the Dundalk Stadium – Light Up Your Night Rated Race, with recent course and distance winner Moonmeister, which swooped late under apprentice Luke Dempsey to foil gallant front-runner Sharjah. The progressive three-year-old is now set for a break and will go hurdling in the spring.

The James Nash-trained veteran Tsar Paul ended a long losing sequence stretching back to July of last year, when proving an emphatic winner of the seven-furlong Handicap. The nine-year-old, a first winner since mid-September for apprentice Ana O’Brien, will carry a mandatory penalty in a six-furlong handicap here on Wednesday.

Also likely to return on Wednesday is Akasaka following his narrow victory over gambled-on Tennessee Wildcat in the Christmas Race & Party Handicap.

Tom ‘Socks’ Madden’s mount was a first winner since January for Emmet Butterly, who stated, “He was claimed for €9,000 and looks a cheap horse now.”

nDeclan McDonogh (Noverre Princess) and apprentice Ian Queally (Maontri) were each banned for two days for whip offences.

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