Feane to boost fine Dundalk strike-rate
A recent Listed heat at Dundalk lured seven British trainers and tonight's feature Cooley Stakes has also proven attractive to English raiders.
Sir Mark Prescott, James Tate and Ralph Beckett are represented and Red Box is put forward with no great confidence for Prescott. She has improved from an initial rating of 78 to one (101) which will be put to the test this evening. She has yet to run a bad race.
This is a devilishly tricky Listed race and the Michael Halford-trained Kadra has the assistance of champion-elect Pat Smullen. The yard may strike with course winner Chestnut Fire in the first of three mile handicaps on the card.
John Feane targets Dundalk and has run almost as many horses there as he has at all other Irish venues put together. He had another winner there on Wednesday and provides the lock of the card in the shape of Not A Bad Oul Day in the first division of the Crowne Plaza Leading Jockey & Trainer Championship Handicap.
The mount of Gary Halpin has plenty going for him on his second start for Feane. Heavily punted at Gowran, he ran a big race and probably did a shade too much up front on testing terrain. Previously with Dot Love, for whom he was capable of winning off a higher mark, he appeals as the type with which his trainer might excel.
The second division is a horrible race, to the extent it revives an argument that these low-grade events should probably not be split into two ideally - though it ensures more media rights money for Dundalk. Something has to win it and Star Links might.
Edward Lynam can take the opening maiden with Magic Bear, a Kodiac filly which has a form edge over the frustrating if consistent A Likely Story.
Massif Central is the clear form pick in the other maiden. His trainer, John Murphy, is in decent form.
The nightcap sees the Feane-trained Power Grid, a recent course third, take on hardy filly Lunada. However, Mainicin - recently second to the Feane runner Park Row - ought to be good enough to strike for Jim Bolger.