Watersmeet to deliver for raiders
Mark Johnston and Mark Prescott cross the water with a pair of live contenders at Dundalk tonight and Middleham-based Johnston is trusted to deliver with Watersmeet in the Coral.ie-sponsored conditions race.
With two wins from 14 runners, Johnston's record at the invaluable Co Louth facility isn't quite as prolific as Prescott's, who has struck with two of his three starters there.
Prescott doubtless has a chance of further enhancing that fine strike-rate with Bear Faced in the four-runner conditions race over seven furlongs, but his Scottish-born colleague appeals as having the best chance of exporting a few euro tonight.
Watersmeet faces just four rivals in its €25,000 extended 10-furlong target. Jim Bolger's recent two-mile winner Mandatario and the David Marnane-trained runner-up Shalaman lead a strong home defence that also includes Gavin Cromwell's consistent Political Policy. Of the five runners, though, Watersmeet boasts the highest official rating of 103, and he appeals as being the best value.
A five-time winner that has won three times on all-weather surfaces, the Dansili five-year-old ran out a decisive victor of a valuable Newmarket event off a mark of 95 in May. Subsequently second in Haydock's Old Newton Cup off 101, his rating peaked at 106.
Despite holding his form reasonably well, he is back down to a mark of 103 now, which is between three and eight pounds superior to the opposition here.
As such, Watersmeet appeals as nap material under Joe Fanning. Prescott has booked Declan McDonogh for Bear Faced, which is race-fit and running well, having been first and third in two recent outings at home.
He could prove hard to beat, but slight preference is for Bolger's Clear Cut. Although a maiden, this Acclamation three-year-old ran well in its three turf outings last year, including when finishing sixth in a Newmarket Group Three last October.
Either side of that, Clear Cut was short-headed at Fairyhouse and Newmarket, so his overall profile looks the best on offer here. If ready for battle, Kevin Manning's mount should foil Bear Faced.
In the amateur riders' race, Robbie Hennessy has booked Nina Carberry for Santo Prince. The six-year-old showed improved form to win on the Flat and over flights in the autumn, and he is fancied to complete his hat-trick now that he reappears.
A raft of regulars will do battle in the mile handicap. Ishebayorgrey and Rose Angel bring winning form to the table, but slight preference on this occasion is for Tribal Path. Damien English's dual course winner has been in tremendous form, and this slight step up in trip should suit.