Fastidious ready to clean up
Michael O'Callaghan might double his domestic career tally when he saddles Fastidious in the seven-furlong handicap at Dundalk tonight.
The Rathangan handler's only Irish winner in his first season with a licence last year came when Bogini obliged at Leopardstown in July, though the same horse did bag a pair of English wins, while Jouster, which is also on duty tonight, enjoyed a cross-channel triumph as well.
O'Callaghan, who specialises in consigning horses for the breeze-up sales, finished 2012 with an impressive 16pc strike rate on either side of the water, and Fastidious has a serious chance of getting the new year going for him now.
A Gowran Park maiden winner for Dermot Weld in September, the Exceed And Excel four-year-old only just failed to collar Core Element on his debut for his new stable here a fortnight ago.
He is 4lbs higher now, but that is not insurmountable if he improves a bit for the outing under useful apprentice Luke Dempsey.
Greek Canyon, fifth then, is 5lbs better off now, so he may be the biggest threat to the nap selection for an in-form Ger Lyons stable.
In the following mile handicap, Lyons also has a leading contender in last week's maiden scorer Toccata Blue, but just preferred in that is the Joanna Morgan-trained Desiderata.
On a line through Eusepio, which finished behind both horses last time, the 13lbs that Desiderata receives from Toccata Blue could prove crucial. Granted, Desiderata was marginally behind Toccata Blue off slightly better terms when they clashed here in December, but Pat Smullen's mount looked as though he might still have plenty more to give when getting off the mark subsequently.
In the six-furlong conditions race, Tom McCourt's Bangalore Diamond, first and second on its last two starts under this evening's rider Ian Brennan, might be able to overcome being wrong at the weights with some of its 11 rivals.
Mick Halford and Shane Foley could team up for a double courtesy of Alvar and Mea Parvitas in the two divisions of the latter mile handicap.
Both horses have been running well here, and may not need to progress much more to plunder what are weak contests.