Princess Pearlita comes of age in Halford and Foley double act
SHANE FOLEY and trainer Mick Halford linked up to land a double in the two most valuable races at Dundalk last night.
The duo opened proceedings when the juvenile Princess Pearlita, which had the form in the book after three placed efforts, won convincingly after being sent of the 5/4 favourite for the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Median Auction Fillies Maiden.
The main problem was the draw as she was boxed up near the outside, but Foley got her away smartly and tacked across to the rails, where she led throughout to win by two and three-quarter lengths.
"She had a good run the last day," Halford said. "I was a little concerned about the drop back to seven furlongs, but the last race sharpened her up and it was a good colt of Ger Lyons (Magnolia Beach) that beat her. It wasn't the plan to make it, but Shane is riding so well at the minute. That's it with her for the moment."
Regulation, a Curragh regular which finished second in the Irish Cambridgeshire in September, led all the way to take the Christmas Race & Dine Packages Handicap.
The 15/8 favourite's main market rival Toccata Blue was never far away throughout the mile contest and the pair had a set-to down the straight, Regulation getting on top close home to win by a length and a quarter.
Chris Hayes and Kevin Prendergast were also in double form, striking first when 13/2 chance Danseur De Feu took the second division of the Dundalk Stadium Light Up Your Night Handicap by a length and three-quarters, breaking her duck at the 11th attempt.
They followed up with Crafty Codger in the Crowne Plaza Leading Jockey & Trainer Championship Nursery. The 7/4 favourite, without a win in nine previous runs, came down the outside to lead at the two pole before being driven a length and a half clear of outsider Fight U For It, which had led at the top of the straight.
Hayes said: "I got a fright in the stalls – he got a bad kick at the back of them and, although the vet gave him the all-clear, it was in my mind the whole way around."