Ebadani can get Halford off the mark at Dundalk
MICK HALFORD, whose 31 winners at Dundalk last year was 10 more than closest pursuer Eddie Lynam tallied, is napped to secure his first of 2013 with Ebadani in tonight's seven-furlong maiden.
With 88 firsts at the County Louth all-weather facility since its doors opened back in 2007, Doneany-based Halford is firmly established as the track's most successful trainer and this Aga Khan-owned Halling colt showed enough on its first run here in November to warrant support now.
Although beaten six lengths in the end over a mile that night, he came from stone-last to keep on with notable intent in the straight.
Ebadani drops back to seven furlongs now so he will need to be sharper under Shane 'Dusty' Foley, but you would expect that to be the case and this is not a hot race.
Halford and Foley might also take the handicap over the same trip with Red Laser.
When collared late on by Lynam's Dimitar in December, it wasn't the first time Red Laser looked a weak finisher over a mile, albeit his sole win came over that journey.
While the blinkered four-year-old is 1lb higher now, Dimitar has franked the form by again winning off a 7lb higher mark, and this furlong shorter distance should suit.
Dimitar has it to do off a 6lb higher mark in tonight's mile handicap, but Lynam's second string, the top-weight Akasaka, gets the nod in that.
Joseph O'Brien is also taken to land his first success of the year on Pat Martin's consistent sprinter Knock Stars in the opening handicap.
Later on, the champion jockey's sister Ana goes in search of a debut career victory on her first non-Ballydoyle mount aboard Paul Hennessy's First Friday in the finale.
The November course winner has a chance under the apprentice's 10lb claim, but Noverre Princess is preferred for Joanna Morgan and Chris Geoghegan, with just a length to find off 8lb better terms with recent conqueror Days Ahead.
Vincent Ward's Circus Act, marginally further back in that race two weeks ago, is fancied under Pat O'Donnell in the first division of the 12-furlong handicap.