Danequest to get Sweeney among winners at Dundalk
Rodger Sweeney is putting the finishing touches to Salsify ahead of its bid to make history by claiming a third Foxhunters' Chase at Cheltenham, but the Co Cork handler has a more immediate appointment at Dundalk tonight with Danequest.
The Castlelyons-based trainer looks to have put all the pieces together for Danequest in the seven-furlong handicap, albeit the trip is a fraction shorter than ideal. Twice a winner over a mile off marks of 68 and 51, the six-year-old gets in off 50 now after a couple of middling efforts here over further.
If he copes with the sharper trip under Kevin Manning, that leaves him looking extremely favourably treated. Sweeney's fellow Cheltenham Festival-winning handler - of which there are nine with runners tonight - Henry de Bromhead could take the amateur riders' finale with Darwins Fox.
Again, this is a competitive race. Rory O'Moore makes its all-weather bow after failing to make an impact over fences, and it will be fascinating to see how the frontrunner fares.
Still, Darwins Fox is the pick under decent five-pound claimer Davy Roche. Placed in graded company on his two most recent hurdle starts in the autumn, he has twice before run well on the Flat when second in maidens at Tramore and Galway. He gets in here off a rating of 75 on his handicap bow, and that is a mark off which he looks capable of going very close.
The nap vote falls to Michael Mulvany's Cutting Corners in the seven-furlong maiden. Ger Lyons' Prairie Rose is feared in first-time blinkers, while Willie Martin's Mystical Past finished in front or her when second a fortnight ago. However, neither would have the same scope to improve as Cutting Corners, which has been placed over six furlongs on her only two runs.
The Kodiac four-year-old was a one-paced second behind Have A Great Day earlier in the month, form that was nicely franked by the winner scoring in handicap company last week. Over this longer trip, then, Cutting Corners is fancied to get her head in front for Gary Carroll.