Lyons' Gospel is one to believe in
Published 03/04/2010 | 05:00
Champion jockey Johnny Murtagh, who hit the target a week ago at Doncaster with hotpot Penitent in the English Lincoln, travels to Dundalk this afternoon hoping to open the defence of his title.
The Meath native and his main employer Aidan O'Brien, who have found the testing conditions on turf their undoing so far with all types of runners, will welcome the chance to remedy that situation here.
The splendid Polytrack surface at the border venue has proved rewarding for them in recent years and they rely today on seasonal debutant Andantino as well as another second campaign performer Full Of Hope.
A beaten favourite last time out, Andantino is bound to attract market support for a modest, 12-runner Jackpot finale which Murtagh won on Mariydi from the Michael Halford yard 12 months ago.
Personal preference, though, is for the Ger Lyons-trained joint bottom weight Ghetto Gospel, which showed definite promise for the first time here over a mile recently when a close fourth to Petit Chou.
Andantino's stablemate Full Of Hope also has the added bonus of a run already this term ahead of the Median Auction Fillies Maiden, with the benefit of her fourth to Blue Dahlia in the mud at the Curragh giving her a definite advantage.
The earlier Crowne Plaza Championship is the most valuable affair on this eight-race card and it's no surprise that Tipperary native Kevin Ryan sends Green Manalishi over from his Yorkshire base.
The booking of former joint British champion Jamie Spencer for this veteran sprinter looks significant and the combination have the plum inside draw to help them overcome Santo Padre and Sole Power.
Multiple scorer Santo Padre's Bansha trainer David Marnane seldom leaves Dundalk Stadium empty-handed and his best chance of another victory today could rest with Partner in the preceding sprint handicap.