Thursday 26 April 2018

Halford and O'Donoghue hold the aces

Trainer Michael Halford. Photo: Sportsfile
Trainer Michael Halford. Photo: Sportsfile

Michael Verney

Michael Halford only has three runners at tonight's Dundalk card but two of them look particularly interesting and can reward punters.

Ambassadorial last appeared on the racecourse when third (6/4 favourite) in the Listed Patton Stakes a little under a year ago at the Louth track where he lost his unbeaten record, having claimed both races during his juvenile season, including Listed success.

The four-year-old has been gelded since then and makes his reappearance off top-weight in the D Hotel Handicap (7.30) against course regulars such as Togoville, Mr Ormsby and Geological.

While carrying 9st13lbs is a hefty burden, Colm O'Donoghue's mount looks potentially a cut above his rivals if not lacking race fitness and can secure the Kildare trainer's third win in this race in the past seven years.

Halford also saddles a similarly-smart sort in Andesh, which must give weight all round in the Wednesday Racing 11th & 18th April At Dundalk Rated Race (7.0), but looks well capable of doing so.

His one-length defeat to Mendelssohn on debut at the Curragh last August looks better with every run, given what the Aidan O'Brien-trained runner has accomplished since, and further improvement is expected from his maiden success on his all-weather bow in October.

It's a competitive heat with course and distance winner Militry Decoration - trained by Michael O'Callaghan - and John Kiely's Check Your Pockets also returning after completing their two-year-old campaigns with victories.

Patrick Prendergast's War Hero may have the fitness edge on his rivals, having been kept busy in recent months with six runs - never out of the first two including a pair of wins - but Andesh should do the business.

Tony Martin sends two into battle in the LMFM Family Fun Day Sunday 6th May Handicap (8.30) with both Pyromaniac and Cassells Rock of interest if supported in the market but the safest bet is the aptly-named Financial Conduct.

Andrew Oliver's course and distance winner lost little in defeat when narrowly touched off by the battle-hardened Elishpour last month and Shane Foley's mount can continue his fine run of form to score.

Irish Independent

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