Although quite hard to ascertain which of the runners will really appreciate the two-mile trip of tonight’s third race at Dundalk, Shalaman can make his class count, under champion jockey Pat Smullen.
David Marnane’s horse is well-in relative to the five runner’s handicap marks but that may count for little if he doesn’t see out the trip.
However, with such a small field the race is likely to turn out to be tactical, and Smullen excels in such events.
He can be expected to use the selection’s foot to put his rivals to bed in the closing stages. The danger may come from Mandatario, who is without a run for almost four months, but is classy enough to be in the frame.
British challenger Turbine can take the fourth race, an all-weather championships fast-track qualifier.
The twice-raced colt was a winner on debut at Wolverhampton in November before finishing fourth of six, beaten three lengths, behind Race Day at Lingfield later that same month.
The form of the latter race was boosted when runner-up Special Season scored next time out, and he and the winner are both now rated 100.
Clearly that was a very smart contest, and Turbine, who has 4lbs and more in hand on current ratings, has the potential to reach greater heights.
With his trainer, Mark Johnston, more than aware of what is needed to win with his Dundalk challengers, he will be very hard to beat.
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