JAMES McAuley has enjoyed considerable success on the Polytrack this year especially in claimers and the Naul trainer went up another gear after he combined with Shane Foley for an 83/1 double through Dalvey and Sister Lola who landed the two most valuable races on the card.
Dalvey held a rating of 98 in the spring but has dropped down considerably since and went off a friendless 20/1 on a mark of 76 in the featured Extra Places Everyday At BetVictor Handicap. Foley bided his time in this two-mile event challenging the front-running favourite Bradesco over a furlong out before drawing clear in the closing stages to beat that rival by two and three-quarter lengths.
McAuley said: “Denis Hogan had this fella as a three-year-old and he was convinced he’d win a Triumph Hurdle but he ran at Listowel and got a horrendous dose of pneumonia. He lost condition, he used to work alright at home but couldn’t finish anything out.
“We were actually happy enough with his last run, he stayed at it and that was the first time he actually stayed going. Derek O’Connor rode him a couple of times and said once he gets his confidence he’ll do a job over a trip.”
The emphasis was on speed in the six-furlong Crowne Plaza Hotel Leading Jockey & Trainer Championship Handicap but Foley again successfully adopted patient tactics as Sister Lola led home a one-two for owner/trainer McAuley.
The 3/1 favourite, available at 9/1 overnight, gradually switched across the track in the straight to challenge on the outer inside the final furlong and collared stablemate Meishar to score by three-quarters of a length.
The Slade Power filly, a three-time winner for Eddie Lynam before being claimed by current connections, has now won five times in 2021.
“The quicker they went the more it was going to help Sister Lola and Shane said he’d no doubt as he was only nursing her into it. I thought she was going nowhere for a while but she picked up plenty.
“She’s been unbelievable. It looks reckless running her every week but we weigh her every week. I know that doesn’t tell you everything, and when she’s heavier this week than she was last week she’s obviously not having too hard a time of it,” said McAuley, who has saddled an impressive 17 winners this year, 12 of which have come at Dundalk.
Porte stars in doubles for Whelan and Halford
RONAN Whelan and Michael Halford recorded doubles and the pair teamed up to take the Irishinjuredjockeys.com Fillies Maiden with Je T’ai Porte.
The 6/4 favourite was very keen in the first half of the race but was also very willing when asked for an effort in the straight, staying on strongly inside the final furlong to beat Excelerina by a length and a quarter.
“I learned a lot about her the last day and pulling up I would have done things a bit differently and got her going earlier. It was one that got away last time,” said Whelan of the filly owned by Halford’s wife Louise. “She’s too generous and nearly wants to please you too much. She can only improve when she learns how to race more and enjoys that surface.”
Chaos Control provided Whelan with the other leg of his double when justifying odds of 4/5 in the Join Us On Instagram @dundalk_stadium Nursery. The Andy Oliver-trained juvenile was well-backed when taking a similar mile event here a fortnight earlier, and again proved the punters darling, quickening up a furlong out to beat Thousand by a comfortable length and three-quarters.
“Ronan said that he just does what he has to do during the race and rode him like the best horse. When he hit the front he felt like he had enough done. I don’t think there is anything else for him here so that’s probably him for the year.
“We’ll maybe keep him for the grass, and hopefully he’ll be a horse that will progress,” said Oliver, who trains the Mastercraftsman colt for Paul Hardy.
Halford initiated his double as the Richard McNally-owned Shamiyan added to a course-and-distance win 12 months ago by landing division one of the Dundalk Stadium Gift Vouchers Available Online Apprentice Handicap.
Mikey Sheehy produced the 15/2 shot from off the pace, and he responded gamely on the stands’ side getting on top in the final 100 yards to beat Macaban City by three-quarters of a length.
Sheehy said: “I think that’s the way to ride him, ride him cold. He loves passing horses, it builds up his confidence. The last day I told Mr Halford to put a line through it as I rode him too confidently. I was stuck three wide and had a bad trip around. Today we just dropped him in from the draw and thankfully it worked out.”
Division two of the apprentice handicap went to Rita Levi (11/1), who was prominent throughout under Donagh O’Connor and asserted inside the final furlong to beat Lady Of Luxury by two and a half lengths.
“It took me a while to work out her trip is a mile and a half but we got there in the end. That’s two out of the last three with her now, and she was unlucky the last day as she hit her head off the gate and nearly concussed herself but still ran a nice race,” said trainer John McConnell. “I thought she had a good each-way shout and told the lads (Only Fools Love Horses Syndicate).”
Samrogue pounces late on for O’Sullivan
ROSS O’Sullivan has enjoyed a highly successful 2021 with his dual-purpose string and the Kill trainer brought his tally to 23 winners under both codes as the Conor Hoban-ridden Samrogue (7/2) pegged back the front-running No Speed Limit close home to land the View Restaurant At Dundalk Stadium Handicap.
“She’s a homebred filly and a first winner Yvonne Lavin has had in her colours. She’s a Roscommon woman and from a well-known racing family,” said O’Sullivan. “She was very free on her first couple of runs and then learned to relax and be a racehorse. We had a bit of a debate whether five or six would suit her and even though she won over five today, I think she’ll be a filly that gets six.”
Brostaigh took advantage of what appeared a good opportunity in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Maiden but only just, at odds of 1/3. The barrier trial winner, trained by Joseph O’Brien for his mother Anne Marie, was placed in three of her five previous starts and held a prominent position throughout.
Declan McDonogh’s mount looked set for a reasonably comfortable success but newcomer Mna Na Mhi finished with a real flourish to get within a neck at the line.
O’Brien’s assistant Brendan Powell said: “I thought she was going to go away and do it but the second horse has made us fight for it. She deserved to win a maiden.”