Halford ready to double up at Dundalk
Mick Halford's prolificacy this winter has seen him dislodge Ger Lyons as Dundalk's leading handler and he can further enhance his superiority with Rummaging and Political Policy tonight.
Having saddled 16 winners in recent months, Halford has enjoyed twice as many firsts as his closest pursuer Eddie Lynam, whom he also beat en route to claiming the title last term, when he totalled just 14 winners. That brings his running tally at the all-weather facility since it opened in 2007 to 114, which is two more than the equally astute Lyons, whose Dundalk opportunities aren't what they were due to his policy of opting not to train low-grade horses.
Indeed, Lyons has saddled just one runner there this year, while Halford has plundered five winners from 22 runners in 2014. He has three on duty tonight, with Rummaging the pick of them.
The opening McCrystals XL Jenkinstown Race that he contests features just three runners and the pacey six-year-old appeals as nap material on ratings when you factor in Conor Hoban's 3lb claim.
Hoban's allowance could also prove invaluable on Political Policy in the BWG Foods Handicap, as the recent course winner has gone up 2lb in the ratings for his latest second.
In even more prolific form than Halford is Curragh handler Paul Deegan, who boasts an impressive 56pc strike rate for 2014 courtesy of five winners from nine runners. Prince Of All is fancied to further enhance that ratio in the mile maiden, having finished an eye-catching third behind Century at the Curragh back in October.
That was a fair effort that arguably tops anything else on paper here, so Prince Of All should take a bit of stopping under Chris Hayes, as you'd imagine that he will be plenty fit enough considering how well the stable is going.
Of the selection's 10 rivals, Austin Leahy's Rust Never Sleeps, second over seven furlongs in a claimer on his track bow here three weeks ago, is one that has obvious scope to improve.