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Bramante on target to seal McCullagh double

Niall McCullagh completed a double at Dundalk last night when steering the Charles O'Brien-trained Bramante (7/2) to win Division 1 of the Dundalk Stadium Handicap.

McCullagh timed his run to perfection on the son of Peintre Celebre, moving the five-year-old to the front inside the final furlong for a two-and-a-quarter-lengths win over Horsewithnoname.

McCullagh was also on board as Hard Rock City (6/1), the Michael Grassick-trained 12-year-old, rolled back the years to record his ninth career win in the Group Discounts At Dundalk Handicap (Division 1).

The son of Danzig, a winner of his first four races at the age of five and last night racing from a rating of just 65 (down from a high of 112), stayed on gamely inside the final furlong, to give McCullagh his first win on the gelding since 2005.

Billyford (2/1 favourite) recorded his sixth career win when readily following up his recent course win, in the www.dundalkstadium.com Handicap. This completed a double for Johnny Murtagh, who had taken the night's opener aboard Muck'N'Brass, the 4/11 favourite.

Billyford, a son of Lil's Boy, moved to the front a furlong out before staying on well for a comfortable win over Tarrsille.

Winning trainer Liam Roche's wife Sally (also owner) later revealed: "I've been writing a book about Billyford, and his long lay-off due to an ownership dispute, for the last three years.

"He is a real family horse and is named after my brother, who sadly passed away."

The David Nagle-trained Elwazeer (2/1 favourite), which landed a gamble on his handicap debut at the course a fortnight ago, defied the handicapper's 15lb rise when taking the Group Discounts At Dundalk Handicap (Division 2).

Ridden again by Wayne Lordan, the gelding stayed on strongly on the outer in the straight to eventually defeat Elusive Express.

Irish Independent