Political strikes for top man Halford
Michael Halford celebrated confirmation of his position as top trainer for Dundalk's winter campaign with a winner in the one-mile handicap.
Political Policy was the Co Kildare trainer's runner in the Crowne Plaza Hotel Dundalk Race & Stay Package Handicap, and he was backed into 11/8 favourite to reverse recent placings with second favourite Fix It.
Under assured handling from Conor Hoban, Halford's gelding challenged up the inside of Tom Dooley as Fix It came with a run on the wide outside, but it was Political Policy which quickened up the smarter to beat his old rival by a length.
Earlier, Chris Hayes spoiled the 'homecoming' party for Jamie Spencer fans when the jockey got Bint Dandy home in front in the auction maiden. Spencer, a former champion jockey in both Ireland and the UK, paid a rare visit to the course to partner Johnny Murtagh's colt Jocular, which was sent off the 4/6 favourite in the Qatar Racing colours.
The market leader held every chance in a three-way battle in the straight, but Hayes came out best, slipping down the inside on Paul Deegan's 3/1 shot and keeping the filly going to score by a neck.
Fergal Lynch got a good tune out of Iron Major to win the opener over seven furlongs, holding up Eddie Lynam's 7/1 shot until the final furlong before thrusting him through a gap to beat Strait Of Zanzibar by half a length.