Backed into 1/2 favourite, the J P McManus-owned Shield delivered for Aidan and Joseph O’Brien in the two-mile firstname.lastname@example.org Maiden in Dundalk last night.
Runner-up to Sunday’s Grade 2 winner Sure Reef in a maiden hurdle at Leopardstown last time and having his second run on the polytrack, the Dylan Thomas gelding travelled smoothly into the lead two furlongs from home and, driven out, stayed on dourly to beat Dalasiri and Martys Magic.
Champion-jockey Joseph O’Brien commented: “He relaxes and travels well in his races. We were in front a bit soon, but he kept going well. He should pay his way and win more races, on the flat and over hurdles.”
Back from a stint in Hong Kong, Colm O’Donoghue savoured a welcome win when the well-backed, Paul Deegan-trained Master Of Time - with first-time cheekpieces - proved best in the Follow Dundalk On Facebook Handicap, proving too strong for favourite Political Policy.
O’Donoghue has returned to his duties in Ballydoyle while Master Of Time is likely to head for the July Sales, as Deegan explained: “He did a nice piece of work last week, so we were pretty hopeful. He’s a fine big horse and will make a nice jumper for somebody in the future. He’ll come back here over the next few weeks and will end up at the July Sales (Newmarket).”
Fergal Lynch, successful on Jamesie in Meydan last week, completed a fine double, initiated on George Kent’s English Channel filly Shamooan, a tenacious winner of the seven-furlong fillies maiden, making most of the running to justify hefty support and beat fellow joint-favourite Chiclet by three and a quarter lengths.
George Kent Jnr commented: “She’s a nice, improving filly, but needed time. We were a bit disappointed that she didn’t win as a two-year-old. Hopefully, she’ll go on from here.”
Lynch, who will return to Dubai on Monday, followed-up on board the David Marnane-trained Cool Athlete, which got up on the line to pip The Black Devil, representing Gerry and Colin Keane, in the one-mile Crowne Plaza handicap.
The runner-up looked sure to triumph, having shaken off the challenge of favourite Califante inside the final furlong before being mugged on the line by eight-year-old Cool Athlete, which was recording his fifth success over course and distance.
The Eddie Lynam-trained Sylvan Mist swooped inside the final furlong to foil front-running Queen Grace, one of Mick Browne’s three runners, in the opening five-furlong sprint handicap
Trainer Peter Fahey declared: “That’s a proper surprise — he shows nothing at home and I tried blinkers to wake him up!” after 14/1 shot Attraction Ticket, formerly trained by David Simcock and reverting to the flat after a few abortive efforts over hurdles, won the Dundalk Driving Tourism Forward Rated Race under Billy Lee.
Having slipped the field last time (up 12lb. for his troubles), Fairy Court and Ian Queally made a bold bid to follow-up in the first division of the Winter Racing At Dundalk Handicap but, having built a clear lead at half-way, he was collared in the last furlong and beaten by Cottesloe, trained by Charles O’Brien for his mother and ridden to victory by Declan McDonogh.
The second division went to top-weight Pivot Bridge which gave trainer Adrian McGuinness his first success since the same horse scored over hurdles at Gowran Park back in October.
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