'Smart' money on Foley mount
Shane Foley, the man fancied by the bookies to replace Johnny Murtagh as the Aga Khan's retained rider in Ireland, is entrusted with tomorrow's nap selection on Mick Halford's Sharp And Smart at Dundalk.
The same partnership will also be responsible for the Aga Khan's first runner since Thursday's shock announcement when Dabadiyan debuts in the two-year-old winners' race, but Sharp And Smart is of more interest from a betting perspective in the mile handicap. Of the 14-strong field, recent course winners Love Nest and Polly Ella have claims, Polly Ella having posted an authoritative victory over 10 furlongs only last Monday.
Sharp And Smart, though, really caught the eye on the same card, staying on well to grab second behind the in-form Ningaloo Reef over seven furlongs. In her three previous starts, all over the same trip, the Acclamation filly won at Tipperary on fast ground and was placed at Fairyhouse and Galway, so she is very consistent.
Crucially, though, Sharp And Smart is also improving, and her latest effort suggested that this step up to a mile might suit ideally. Halford and Foley could also take the following mile-and-a-half handicap with Coach Bombay, which got going similarly late to be third over shorter last week, having encountered trouble in running.
How Dabadiyan, a son of Zamindar, fares will be interesting, with Ballydoyle's Sir Walter Scott, a Galileo three-parts brother to the 2008 Irish Derby hero Frozen Fire, the pick of the other newcomers. Of the three winners on duty, Ger Lyons is responsible for two, and it is his course and distance winner, Seeking Luck, that gets the nod.
Impressive on her debut against more experienced rivals, Gary Carroll's mount is in possession of a stunning turn of foot that any of her six rivals will do well to match.
In the juvenile maiden, Mark Johnston's raider Polish Crown -- twice a runner-up already -- looks a pretty solid option under Fran Berry.
Earlier, Precious Dream, representing David Wachman and Wayne Lordan, can make the most of the drop down to five furlongs in the opener, having tired inside the distance when second to Bonnie Acclamation over six at Leopardstown two weeks ago. Queen Grace and Calm Bay, both last-time-out scorers, are among a more established bunch of sprinters in opposition, but Precious Dream might just be less exposed over the minimum trip.