Recording his sixth win on the polytrack (he also won on the beach at Laytown), Togoville dictated the pace and kept finding for the recently-crowned, eight-time champion Pat Smullen to triumph by two lengths.
The five-year-old Verglas gelding is trained for Patrick McCann by Georgios Pakidis who explained: “He loves it here and still seems to be improving.”
He added: “It’s up to the boss whether we travel on January 2 for the five-furlong All-Weather Championship race (in Chelmsford City). We’ll see how he comes out of tonight’s race before making plans for him.”
Out of luck with Jamesie, David Marnane and Connor King struck with Settle For Red in the one-mile Best Of Luck Dundalk FC In The FAI Cup Final Handicap.
Always close to the place and in front early in the straight, the five-year-old toughed it out well to hold the late surge of Political Policy by a fast-diminishing nose.
Marnane suggested: “He was very unlucky here two runs back and, on that, was entitled to be bang there tonight. He’ll come back for something similar.”
Fran Berry followed-up last week’s treble with a notable double, recording an all-the-way win on Andy Oliver’s filly Paythepirce in the opening two-year-old maiden and bringing course specialist Moonmesister with a perfectly-timed challenge to win the Christmas Party Nights At Dundalk Stadium Handicap.
A daughter of Lawman, Paytheprice bounced smartly from the outside stall (eleven) and showed plenty of pace throughout before holding Sweetie Jar by a length and a quarter, prompting her trainer to comment: “It’s great to get that done – we dropped her back in trip and she did the job well.”
In contrast, Berry brought Moonmeister, formerly trained by Gordon Elliott from the rear of the field to foil Bittern in the mile-and-a-half handicap, scoring by a half-length to record his fifth course win and his first since joining Tony Martin.
“He was unlucky in Naas, when he hit the front a bit soon,” commented Martin, “Things didn’t go according to plan that day, but it was different tonight.”
Ronan Whelan oozed confidence on the Sheila Lavery-trained Danz Gift throughout the five-furlong handicap, ultimately delivering a wining challenge inside the final furlong to beat trail-blazing Little Sweetheart comfortably by a length and a half.
Afterwards, he explained: “Sheila told me he’d travel, to ride him with plenty of confidence and to have one go with him. They went hard up front, but he travelled really well and, when I asked him, he quickened well and put the race to bed quickly.”
Whelan went on to complete a double when partnering Melanna, the 5/4 favourite, to land the finale, the Big Bad Bob Maiden, in emphatic style for trainer James Barrett.
The 76-rated filly, which competed in listed company last time, proved two and three-quarter lengths too strong for Eagle Valley.
And, having his first run for trainer Joe Murray, Captain Midnight landed the seven-furlong 47-65 handicap at the expense of National Service, providing apprentice Keith Moriarty with his third career success and ending his 10lb. claim.