Take Cover bounces back in Dundalk

The David Griffiths-trained Take Cover bounced back from a below par run in the Abbaye at Longchamp last time when landing the listed Mercury Stakes in Dundalk last night.

Ridden by Fran Berry, the tough eight-year-old spear-headed British domination of the five-furlong dash, run in 58 seconds flat, beating compatriot Speed Hawk by a length and a half with favourite Marsha, the only two-year-old in the field, third.

Gordon Lord Byron proved best of the home challengers in fourth spot.

Take Cover was recording his eighth career success and his first since winning the Group 2 King George Stakes in Goodwood in August of last year.

Griffiths said: “I still don’t know what happened in the Abbaye. But he was dropping in class after good runs behind Sole Power and Muthmir.

“He still has an appetite for racing and the plan is to head for Dubai. He’ll have a break after his spell out there and will miss Royal Ascot.”

Pat Smullen, who will be crowned champion-jockey for the eighth time in Leopardstown tomorrow, achieved another career milestone when partnering 16/1 shot Marise to victory in the concluding Christmas Party Nights At Dundalk Hanndicap.

A first winner for veteran trainer Michael Cunningham since 2011, Marise brought up a century of winners in a season for Smullen, for only the second time.

Jim Bolger continued his superb run of form when the six-year-old captured the seven-furlong Book Your Christmas Party At Dundalk Handicap under in-form Rory Cleary.

The 10/1 shot got up close home to catch Back On Top, prompting Bolger’s representative Ger Flynn to comment: “He’s three years off, so it’s a great performance by the trainer. We’re delighted to have him back on track.”

Tooreen Legend registered his third course and distance success when justifying 2/1 favouritism in the Crowne Plaza Race & Stay Handicap over an extended 10 furlongs, the battle-hardened five-year-old staying on strongly for Billy Lee to beat Break My Mind.

Apprentice Killian Leonard, from Kanturk, Co Cork, rode out his 10lbs claim when partnering top-weight Kotonic to victory in the irishinjredjockeys.com Nursery for Curragh trainer Michael O’Callaghan.

The Kodiac filly dictated the pace and battled tenaciously under strong riding in a lengthy tussle with Sweetie Jar to triumph by a half-length.

The David Marnane-trained Laharde took victory in the opening six-furlong maiden at the expense of Falcao.

The Dutch Art gelding was 28th winner of the season for Connor King, who will be crowned champion apprentice for the second time tomorrow.

Johnny Murtagh saddled Yulong Baozuo to win the one-mile apprentice handicap the 16/1 shot getting om top close home to beat Skerray Rules by a neck.


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