Hawke takes eye to put Murtagh on Dundalk double trail
Bettors are spoiled for options in Ireland today, with Downpatrick's afternoon jumps offering flowing nicely into Dundalk's polytrack racing down the M1.
The main action takes place in Co Louth, where the feature Carlingford Stakes, happily for each-way players, has attracted eight. Pat Smullen and Johnny Murtagh, old foes in the latter's riding days, team up and can take this with the Oratorio-bred Hawke.
Hawke won over the course and distance in August, beating the teak-tough Ringside Humour. He ran a similar race when a close third at Dundalk last time and this looks a slightly weaker heat here, with Smullen riding for the first time.
The nap vote at Dundalk goes to Konig Hall, which is surely a winner in waiting on the level off his lowly mark.
Anthony McCann's steeds are in nice shape just now and, drawn one and with Conor McGovern prising five pounds off his back, his chance is obvious in the penultimate event.
Murtagh may also strike in the apprentices' handicap with More Than Munny, on which the booking of Oisin Orr takes the eye. The course winner is probably on an exploitable mark off 76.
Teenager Danny Sheehy got off the mark aboard Rahyah recently and both that one and another of his mounts, Hes Our Music, both have solid claims this evening.
The second division of that handicap is an interesting little race. Milford Lass was not far behind Jessamine last time and the form of that race will be put to the test in the previous contest by top weight Lunada.
Rahyah looked pretty polished at Dundalk last time and his new mark seems fair. This is a pretty competitive mile-and-a-half handicap, but Sheehy's claim could be key and it goes without saying it could be a big night for the son of trainer 'Dusty'.
Earlier today, the in-form Gordon Elliott gives Denis O'Regan the steer aboard Captain Bocelli in the opening maiden hurdle at Downpatrick but course third Russellstown may have his measure, especially in receipt of 8lb up the punishing hill.
Elliott can, however, strike in the staying maiden hurdle with Gigginstown's Ballela Boy, which looks the form pick on the basis of his recent Gowran second.
David Mullins steers Ballela Boy and his popularity is such that Henry de Bromhead also uses him for Gone Platinum in the Port Beginners' Steeplechase. He may be able to dictate in this tidy little maiden.
Midnight Theatre, which won her maiden hurdle in a modest Downpatrick event, may be able to improve on her chase efforts under the in-form Keith Donoghue in the staying handicap chase. She ought to be dangerous if getting into a rhythm up front.