Get off to a flyer with Pele

Dundalk is the focus for Irish racegoers this evening, and Peleponnesus can get punters off to a flyer by taking the six-furlong maiden for Reggie Roberts.

Clearly always well regarded, he was the subject of plenty of support when a promising fifth behind Stop And Linger on his debut at Fairyhouse, back in June. Next time out he was well beaten in a Curragh maiden won by subsequent Listed winner Eshera, and then enjoyed a break before finishing a close second behind Downforce at Down Royal on his most recent outing.

On the latter occasion, he missed the kick and was always on the back foot. However, it was a pretty good effort and the booking of Pat Smullen suggests even better is expected. Dropped to six furlongs for the first time, he can’t afford to miss a beat at the break this time, but there is no better jockey than Smullen to get them into the right position early.

With most of his rivals looking exposed, Peleponnesus should prove very hard to beat. Laharde, who finished second behind Zuberi in a claiming maiden last time, can follow him home.

The remainder of the card looks very tricky, but Bishan Bedi should go very close in the Book Your Christmas Party at Dundalk Handicap. Twice a winner in four outings at this track earlier in the year, he returned last weekend and put up a fine effort to get to within a neck of the unexposed and very promising Golden Raven.

That effort suggested he may not have reached the limit of his powers and, though the furlong shorter trip may not seem ideal, he clearly runs very well at this track, and another big run looks on the cards.

The Listed Mercury Stakes is the feature on the card and recent course and distance winner Marsha can beat her elders to the €45,000 winner’s prize.

The Mark Prescott-trained two-year-old filly was most impressive last time, showing terrific speed to beat the useful Go Kart with plenty to spare.

Although this race represents a huge step up in grade, she looks precocious and can make the most of age allowances she receives. With just 8-4 to carry and Chris Hayes in the plate, all is in place for a huge run.

Amongst the dangers in a very competitive race is the Aidan O’Brien-trained Eisenhower. A winner over this trip on his second start, he may prefer a bit further than five furlongs, but is progressive enough to have a big say.


AS Joaquin Phoenix rose to the podium to collect his Academy Award for Best Actor, ears were peeled as the actor made his speech about inequality and our disconnect with the natural world.Paul McLauchlan: Leading men lead the way on Oscars red carpet

The new season blood oranges have arrived, they’ve been trickling into the shops ever since Christmas — such joy. I long for their delightful fresh taste after the rich food of the festive season.Darina Allen: Blood Oranges have a delightfully fresh taste after the rich food of winter

She’s the Cork singer dubbed the next Kate Bush, shortlisted by Universal, the world’s biggest record label, as their artist to watch in 2020. This will be the year of Lyra, writes Ed PowerLyra: Meet the new Kate Bush - and she's from Cork

For relationships to endure, we need to be loving not just on Valentine’s Day but all year round, a Buddhist teacher tells Marjorie BrennanOpen hearts: The Buddhist approach to love and loving

More From The Irish Examiner