Always a force at the track, Michael Halford completed a double with favourites Rummaging and Won Diamond in Dundalk last night.
Winner of his maiden over six furlongs here last time, Rummaging justified 11/10 favouritism on his handicap debut in the Dundalk Stadium Light Up Your Night Apprentice Handicap.
Ridden by Conor Hoban, he wore down front-running Greek Canyon inside the final furlong before holding his stable-companion Lord Kenmare (Ross Coakley) by a half-length.
Halford said: “He’s a lovely, straight-forward horse that loves this surface. He’s tough and genuine and we’ll keep campaigning him here. It’s just a pity we had to beat one of our own. They’re both entered here on Friday, so we’ll see how they are in the morning.”
Shane Foley was seen at his best when completing the Halford double on 2/1 favourite Won Diamond in the one-mile two-year-old maiden, the Mount Nelson colt making virtually all the running, from a high draw, before holding Elleval by a short-head in a driving finish.
“He did well to win from stall 12,” commented the winning trainer. “Shane said he had to let him go forward to get across. He’s a lovely, big baby, a horse for the future. He wasn’t doing a lot in front, but should make a nice staying three-year-old. It’s nice to get the maiden out of the way and we’ll give him a break now.”
Foley completed his own double in the concluding maiden when Johann Bach (20/1) provided Pat Harney, 24, who trains just two horses in Rhode, County Offaly, with his first success.
The Oratorio gelding stretched clear inside the final furlong to triumph by three lengths from even-money favourite Benbecula, whose rider Johnny Murtagh earlier picked up a one-day whip ban on Diamond Daze.
The Tracy Collins-trained Roe Deer (Mick Hussey) landed a tidy gamble (7/1 to 4/1 favourite) when foiling Shake The Bucket by a half-length in the Christmas Part Nights at Dundalk Handicap, a race in which Davy Russell was out of luck on his first ever ride on the all-weather at Dundalk.
Russell was aboard the Gordon Elliott-trained Discoteca and trailed in 11th.
Eight-year-old Copper Dock is likely to be turned out in another six-furlong handicap tomorrow night by Tom McCourt following his narrow win under Ben Curtis in the opening Christmas Party Packages Handicap. It was the gelding’s eighth win from 80 career starts.
The father-and-son combination of Tom and Rory Cleary struck with 20/1 shot Curl Cat, helped by recent work on his back, in the Crowne Plaza Race & Stay Handicap while Pat Smullen attributed the emphatic success of Pat Flynn’s He’s Our Music in the Crowne Plaza Leading Jockey & Trainer Championship Handicap to his liking for the fast Dundalk surface.
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