Apprentice Denis Linehan registered his eighth career success, and his first of 2016, when bringing More Than Munny with a storming late challenge to collar odds-on favourite Go Kart in the featured Irishinjuredjockeys.com Race in Dundalk last night.
The Johnny Murtagh-trained Munnings gelding, fourth in his recent debut here over seven furlongs, took time to hit top gear but finished well, denying the favourite close home and scoring by a neck with 20/1 shot Flowerhill Nova a close third.
The delighted trainer stated: “They went quick, which helped, because I was afraid six furlongs might be a bit sharp for him. But he’s a nice horse and is learning all the time.”
The Pat Shanahan-trained Split The Atom defied top-weight under Donnacha O’Brien in the six- furlong Crowne Plaza Dundalk Race & Stay Handicap, battling courageously to hold gambled-on favourite Dark Alliance by a head.
The four-year-old was winning for the third time on the polytrack.
Shanahan explained: “Six or seven furlongs suits him and he loves it around here. He loves to be up with the pace and is a straightforward ride. He’s not very big, but carries weight well.”
Out of luck with Dark Alliance, Michael Halford and Conor Hoban struck in the first division of the one-mile Jolly January Dining Handicap when 11/8 favourite Skerray Rules stayed on under strong pressure to deny the gambled-on front-runner Ciankyle.
The second division provided apprentice Christina Simpson with her second success in the saddle as Pick Your Battle (16/1) prevailed for Andy Oliver, beating favourite Rose Angel by a short-head.
Up a total of 15lb. for wins here in November and last month, Northern Surprise (Billy Lee) completed a fine hat-trick when getting up in the dying strides to beat front-running Poetic Choice in the seven- furlong www.dundalkstadium Handicap.
“It’s always hard to win three in a row, but he’s tough and keeps finding,” said Doyle. “Billy knows him well and knows that he’ll keep going. We’ll have to step him up in grade again, in a few weeks.”
Ronan Whelan, who started the New Year with a double two weeks ago, was seen at his strongest on board the Tracey Collins-trained All Body And Soul which landed a tidy gamble in the opening Big Bad Bib Maiden over a mile and a half.
As big as 20/1 in some places during the day, the High Chaparral gelding showed a good attitude, battling to see off Rocking The Blue by a neck, prompting his trainer to explain: “He was a promising two-year-old, but went astray and we let him out into a field.
"He’s still a baby — weak and raw — and will take more time. But I’m very happy that his owner (Galway-based Herb Stanley) persevered with him.”
A 16/1 shot in the morning and supported from 11/1 to 9/2 on track, the Denis Hogan-trained mare Meadow Cross also landed a touch in the 47-65 Follow Dundalk On Facebook Handicap, scoring under Michael Halford’s talented apprentice Conor McGovern by four and a half lengths from
“I didn’t expect her to win as easy as that,” admitted Hogan, who stressed “Seamie Heffernan is the man to thank – he told me she handles the surface and to go back up in trip with her.
"She’s a big mare with a nice pedigree and we’ll mix it with her – she’ll go back over hurdles on better ground."
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved