Game Set to serve up another Dundalk ace for Lyons
Ger Lyons has his team in particularly rude health right now and the efficient Meath handler is trusted to deliver tonight's nap vote at Dundalk with Game Set Dash.
Lyons' yield of 12 winners since January constitutes an increase of around 50pc on his tally at the same stage in recent years. He has really hit the ground running this time, and he heads for his happiest hunting ground tonight with a handful of live chances.
Game Set Dash is fancied as the most exciting of his quartet. An Arch three-year-old that cost Qatar Racing $150,000 as a yearling, Game Set Dash is a striking looker that finished second to Wychwood Warrior on its debut at the all-weather facility in November.
That was a fair turn in a decent heat, and he confirmed that promise by keeping on for fourth behind Hans Holbein over 10 furlongs on soft ground at Leopardstown last month.
If Game Set Dash runs to a similar level or better this evening, he ought to take a bit of stopping for Colin Keane in the maiden over the same trip.
In the seven-furlong equivalent, the duo's narrow Gowran Park runner-up Ardhoomey has serious claims, but preferred is Ortiga. Trained by Lyons' Meath neighbour Eddie Lynam, this Dark Angel filly twice ran well in defeat last year, first in a maiden behind Qualify and then when fourth to The Great War in a Curragh Listed race.
Last month, she was just denied a short-head here by Hunt, a fair sort that had been second to Success Days previously. All told, that is pretty solid form, so Ortiga gets the nod to get off the mark for Gary Carroll.
Dermot Weld's Defining Year appeals as being handicapped to win now that he returns to a more suitable 10-furlong trip in the penultimate contest, while Times In Anatefka could be the one in the opener over six furlongs. Adrian Joyce's mare won twice here in November, latterly over six furlongs, which suits her well.
When last seen in January, Times In Anatefka wasn't disgraced over five, so she is expected to go very close back over six now under the ever-reliable Chris Hayes.
At Kilbeggan, Davy Russell has a couple of decent mounts, in particular the Jimmy Mangan-trained Perfect Promise in the Belvedere House & Gardens Handicap Chase.
This is a competitive €17,500 handicap, and Gordon Elliott's JP McManus-owned Riverside City is sure to be thereabouts for Luke Dempsey.
Plenty of others have chances as well, but Perfect Promise is a mare on the upgrade. A ready Thurles winner in February, she was then a fine third behind Vroum Vroum Mag at Limerick, before finishing a one-paced sixth on her handicap bow at Punchestown.
That was over two miles and five furlongs, so the step up to three miles on a decent surface here should be ideal. Off a pound lower mark, Russell's mount is surely a big player.
Willie Mullins has two runners. Nickname Exit and Pearl Diamond tackle the novices' hurdle and bumper, respectively, and both look pretty formidable contenders.