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Monaco Mist to be leader of the pack at Dundalk

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The day's nap is Kevin Prendergast's Lady O'Reilly-owned juvenile Monaco Mist in the fillies' maiden.

The day's nap is Kevin Prendergast's Lady O'Reilly-owned juvenile Monaco Mist in the fillies' maiden.

The day's nap is Kevin Prendergast's Lady O'Reilly-owned juvenile Monaco Mist in the fillies' maiden.

Dundalk's all-weather circuit has been a sanctuary of decent going for despairing Flat trainers in recent months, so it is no surprise to see this afternoon's additional fixture immensely well supported once again.

Of the eight races, six boast full 14-runner fields plus three reserves. A further 56 horses were denied a run, a remarkable statistic at a time when balloting is no longer an everyday concern, especially given that the meeting was arranged only a week ago.

The day's nap is Kevin Prendergast's Lady O'Reilly-owned juvenile Monaco Mist in the fillies' maiden.

Of the selection's 13 rivals, Dermot Weld's Bracing Breeze and Ger Lyons' Golden Flower, both placed last time, are most feared, but Monaco Mist -- a full-sister to Joshua Tree, which won the Group Two Royal Lodge Stakes at Ascot in 2009 and went on to score at Grade One level in Canada -- is the most precocious.

On her only previous outing, the Montjeu filly stayed on to be second to Weld's smart Big Break at Leopardstown, and average improvement from that should see her oblige under the resurgent Chris Hayes, whose six winners at Listowel last week left him with a first half-century of turf winners.

Championship rivals Joseph O'Brien and Pat Smullen both have decent books, and Smullen could draw level with O'Brien at the top of the table if Mouteab steps up in the colts and geldings' two-year-old maiden.

Second in each of his three starts to date, including to the Group One-placed Designs On Rome, Weld's blinkered son of Marju is due his turn.

strike

In the older fillies' maiden, O'Brien can strike back on Along, which will be suited to the mile trip, having looked on the weak side when tiring in two runs over 10 furlongs earlier in the campaign.

The card closes with a 12-furlong open maiden, and Nurse Ryan, representing Martin Hassett and his nephew Shane, is taken to spring a surprise in that.

A dual hurdle winner that needs good ground to show her best, the six-year-old wasn't disgraced when fifth behind three subsequent winners at Tipperary on her Flat debut in July.

Irish Independent