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English asks more of Dad at Dundalk

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Mick Halford has been in typically prolific form at the Co Louth facility, and he is trusted to deliver the nap vote with Dalewari in the mile juvenile maiden. Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE

Mick Halford has been in typically prolific form at the Co Louth facility, and he is trusted to deliver the nap vote with Dalewari in the mile juvenile maiden. Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE

Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE

Mick Halford has been in typically prolific form at the Co Louth facility, and he is trusted to deliver the nap vote with Dalewari in the mile juvenile maiden. Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE

Naul-based Damian English might have had to wait until November to get off the mark for the year, but he did it in absolutely spectacular style when Ask Dad readily justified being backed from a high of 20/1 into 4/1 at Dundalk on Wednesday.

English's sixth winner in four years, the coup was a fantastic advertisement of the fledgling handler's ability to have one right when it matters.

Ask Dad reappears at the all-weather track tonight under a five-pound penalty that is countered by the booking of three-pound claimer Ian McCarthy, so it is hard not to conclude that he will again take plenty stopping.

He steps up to seven furlongs from the optimum six-furlong trip that each of his three career wins have come over, but that should be within his range. The most important factor is that Ask Dad is in off a net rating of 57, which remains hugely attractive given he was rated as high as 97 in 2013.

Mick Halford has been in typically prolific form at the Co Louth facility, and he is trusted to deliver the nap vote with Dalewari in the mile juvenile maiden. Jessica Harrington's Dancing Noretta is the obvious danger following its third here three weeks ago, but Halford's Aga Khan-owned colt appeals as a classier individual.

Sixth in a fair Leopardstown contest on its August debut, he kept on for third behind Postulation when stepping up to this sort of distance at Killarney later that month. The runner-up Archangel Raphael has since won nicely at Galway, so Dalewari has solid claims here under Shane Foley.

Later on, Billy Lee could secure a brace if things fall his way. Athassel has a chance for him in the mile handicap, while Andrew Slattery's in-form Thurles team could oblige for him with Sharjah in the following 10-furlong finale.

Successful over course and distance a week ago, Sharjah is just two pounds higher now, which looks extremely lenient given that the third Minot Street franked the form with a facile triumph here on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Tony Martin and JP McManus will vie for their respective first Group One Flat win when Clonard Street tackles the Criterium de Saint-Cloud in France tomorrow.

Acquired by McManus after scoring on its debut for John McConnell at the Galway races, the juvenile colt chased home Ol' Man River in the Group Three Beresford Stakes on its first start for its new connections at the Curragh. Tomorrow, Clonard Street steps up from a mile to 10 furlongs on ground that is forecast to be testing.

He will face five rivals, while he will break from the inside berth under Fran Berry as he seeks to plunder an unlikely Flat triumph for two men far more synonymous with the jumps game. Richard Hannon is represented in the race by Crafty Choice.

Irish Independent