O'Brien can enjoy pre-Christmas boost
Joseph O'Brien is set to unveil one or two more of the high-profile JP McManus-owned juvenile hurdlers in his care at Leopardstown next week and Dundalk can prove a platform for a little pre-Christmas boost tonight.
O'Brien clearly likes the all-weather track - he has been strongly represented there since becoming a licensed trainer - and the booking of Wayne Lordan is significant aboard the nap vote, Song Of Love, in the final race of the year at Dundalk.
The pace angle here is key. With Hes Our Music, Specific Gravity and Sharjah in the race, all potential front-runners ridden by apprentices, hold-up horses - such as Song Of Love - should be well-placed.
Wayne Lordan is an excellent booking on the four-year-old, which has form over shorter and, most recently, when scoring over a mile and a half here last week.
John Murphy enjoys a profitable winter series and has prospects of a double. Nursery candidate George Boole did the job snugly a fortnight ago and can follow up; stablemate Paved With Gold remains well-handicapped and is bred to stay in the apprentices' event under Jack Kennedy.
The opening rated race is extremely tough and the Foley-ridden Shannon Soul is a somewhat reluctant pick here, given his modest win record.
The Elusive Pimpernel Maiden is split into two, neither half especially deep. November Tale's improved run here a fortnight ago was expected by the market and the Casemento filly should be good enough, while Thomas O'Malley is given yet another chance in the second division.
Another exceptionally trappy one is the feature €24,000 handicap over seven furlongs. Chestnut Fire is now off top weight and has never been rated so highly but, on the balance, given the doubts about some of the others, he remains the most likely winner on form.
Like Joseph O'Brien, Gordon Elliott is seeking a little cheer to enhance confidence ahead of the major Christmas festivals. Zanjbeel ran a blinder back on the Flat last time for Elliott, who has booked Billy Lee aboard the son of Aussie Rules in the mile-and-a-half maiden. The coffin-box draw is not a major concern.