The season’s leading riders, Wayne Lordan and Pat Smullen, moved onto the 20 winner mark when hitting the target early in Dundalk last night.
Lordan, the early-season pacesetter in the title-race, partnered odds-on favourite Almanack to an all-the-way win in the opening two-year-old maiden while Smullen was seen at his strongest on board Exhortation, which got home by the minimum margin, a nose, from Multitasking in the six-furlong maiden.
Helped by his debut third over course and distance, Almanack pleased Lordan, who commented: “He knew his job after the last day and won well. He’s still a bit green and should improve again. And six furlongs won’t be a problem for him.”
Favourite-backers hit the target again when Exhortation, helped by the drop back to six furlongs, scraped home in the Irish Stallion farms Maiden, giving Dermot Weld and Pat Smullen a sixth winner since Sunday.
After pipping Multitasking, Smullen said: “The low draw, normally a big help here, forced my hand and we were in front too soon, just like the last day. But he toughed it out and, if he gets a nice mark, will be competitive in handicaps.”
Apprentice Sam James completed a fine double on Kieran Cotter’s Little Village in the six-furlong www.dundalkstadium.com Handicap and longshot Give Me Shelter in the Louth Rated Race.
Little Village came through inside the final furlong before holding the challenge of Luckiest Owners and front-running Bangalore Diamond by a couple of heads.
James followed-up when 20/1 shot Give Me Shelter, a first winner for his trainer Bernard Heffernan when scoring here last month, made virtually all to beat Elwazeer in the Louth rated Race.
The Michael; Grassick-trained Elusive In Paris defied a 6lb. hike for a recent course win over seven furlongs and top-weight in the Louth Agricultural Show 17th June Handicap, foiling You Got Heart by a length and a half.
The five-year-old was another winner for in-form Niall McCullagh. And trainer Grassick commented: “He’s improving, getting stronger and learning how to race. I’m keen to run him on grass, but we’ll have to wait for decent ground.”
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved