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Murtagh can prove top brass on Lynam's Muck

Having closed out 2011 with a tremendous string of results at Dundalk, Eddie Lynam bids to get the new year under way in similar fashion when he saddles 11 runners at the Co Louth venue this evening.

The Dunshaughlin-based handler has plenty of chances on the busy eight-race spread, but maybe none quite as robust as Muck'N'Brass in the opening Follow Dundalk On Facebook Maiden.

Eight horses will go to post for the mile heat and Lynam's once-raced three-year-old is the only one with any form to recommend it.

On its debut in December, Muck'N'Brass was an eye-catching third in a juvenile contest that was won by Beat The Ballot, which went on to finish a decent second in a nursery.

Seventh home Captain Joy has further franked the form by winning on the same card just before Christmas, so the Johnny Murtagh-ridden Muck'N'Brass should justify the nap vote now.

The champion jockey can double up on Lynam's Aragorn Rouge in the 10-furlong maiden. A frustrating sort, Aragorn Rouge ran creditably to be fourth here over a mile last month.

This step back up in trip should be to his advantage, so he is fancied to reel in the front-running Melodie D'Amour.

Seamie Heffernan is another man taken to leave with a brace tonight. The Ballydoyle deputy should be able to exploit an inside draw when he partners the David Marnane-trained He's Got Rhythm from stall two in the seven-furlong handicap, while Zero Euro breaks from the rail for him in division two of the 10-furlong equivalent.

Recent course winners Imprudent Miss and Lift The Gloom will no doubt give Zero Euro plenty to do, but this looks a good opportunity for Heffernan's mount. Harry Rogers' representative was a fair third to the smart Knockgraffon Lad last time, and the step up in distance could bring about the required improvement.

Incidentally, Marnane was out of luck in faraway Meydan yesterday when his stable star Nocturnal Affair finished a half-length runner-up to the Dandy Nicholls-trained Addictive Dream in the sprint handicap. But, there was a decent consolation prize as Colm O'Donoghue's mount still bagged £15,384 in prize money.

O'Donoghue had better fortune in the mile handicap, which the Ballydoyle rider won aboard Furnace.

Irish Independent