Sunday 19 January 2020

Champion Keane picks up right where he left off

Racing returned to Dundalk on Friday with the first meeting of the year, one that saw last year's leading rider at the track, Colin Keane, and trainer John McConnell record doubles on the card.

Colin's double was initiated by the Ger Lyons-trained Phoenix Open (Evens fav), a comfortable winner of the View Restaurant January Special Claiming Race for his owner/breeder Mark Breen.

No less than 16 claims were received for the winner, a son of Scat Daddy, whose winning progeny at Dundalk includes top-class sprinter Caravaggio and other Group/Grade One winners, Mendelssohn and Skitter Scatter.

He will now join trainer Shane Duffy and could be extremely well-bought at €15,000 by owner John Keogh.

Colin's double was completed by Outside Inside (6/1), who is owned by Garrett Freyne, in the Fundraise At Dundalk Stadium Rated race for Dunboyne, County Meath-trainer Jack Davison, who said afterwards: 'She likes it up here and that will have done her confidence the world of good. You saw a master (Colin Keane) at work there.'

Stamullen, County Meath-trainer John McConnell also enjoyed a good start to the year with two winners, which came in the two divisions of the Crowne Plaza Race & Stay Handicap.

Firstly, Happaugue (7/1), ridden by Rory Cleary and owned by Caroline Ahearn, scored at the sixth time of asking in his career on what was his first run at tonight's trip, and then the admirably-consistent Magi Gal (7/1), owned by the Rockview Racing Club, gave Siobhan Rutledge her second career win, the first one also having come on Magi Gal.

These wins meant that the trainer had notched four winners from his first seven runners in 2020.

Having trained the final winner in 2019 at Dundalk (Ragtime Red), Anthony McCann was responsible for the first one of 2020 as Red Cymbal, ridden by Danny Sheehy, caused a 33/1 shock in the Happy New Year From Dundalk Stadium Handicap.

Rated in the mid-70s a little over a year ago, Red Cymbal ran off 55 here and, having cost just £1,000, was shrewdly purchased. The winning owner was Rita Shah.

Anthony said afterwards: 'It was all about sweetening him up and the team at home did a very good job.'

Trained by Ray Cody and owned by Ballygallon Stud, Guinevere (16/1), ridden by Conor Hoban, won a very good renewal of the Bet On The Best Night Out Handicap on what was just her second run in a handicap.

The winning trainer said afterwards: 'She has loads of ability but things have to drop right for her. She will probably come back here in three weeks for a 12-furlong Rated Race.'

The daughter of (as you may have guessed) Camelot, looks very promising.

May's Force Works Again

Owned and bred by Frank McNulty, Miracles In May landed the Handicap as a well-supported 7/2 favourite. The Carrick-On-Suir, Tipperary-based trainer Mark Cahill's five-year-old gelding had been backed even more strongly when winning at Naas in April.

Winning jockey Ben Coen said: 'I was only half-travelling, but I knew he stays and he kept going well. He moved well on the surface.'

More Maiden Promise

Having seen a good number of maiden winners in the last three months of 2019, Dundalk began the year with another one when Mecklenburg (3/1 favourite) won the Floodlit Friday Nights At Dundalk Stadium Maiden in the hands of Ronan Whelan.

Winning trainer Michael Halford said afterwards of the winner, who was a late foal (May 14th): 'He's a lovely horse and just got a bit weak after his first run and we had to be patient. He's a smashing horse (but) very raw.'

The winner is owned and was bred by Nicky Hartery, chairman of Horse Racing Ireland. Mecklenburg's dam, Temecula, was also bred by Nicky and also won her maiden at Dundalk.

Michael has sent three runners to Meydan for the prestigious and valuable Dubai Racing Carnival - Simsir, Massif Central and Surrounding - each of them a winner at Dundalk, and we wish them every success on their travels.

The Argus