ADRIAN McGuinness could have another canny and inexpensive purchase on his hands in Inflection Point who made his fourth start for the trainer a winning one in the seven-furlong handicap.
Previously a three-time winner and a 12,000gns purchase at Newmarket six weeks before, the five-year-old was bidding for his first success beyond sprint trips.
In a well-contested event, all eight of the runners were in with a chance of some sort heading towards the last furlong. Inflection Point picked up well for Rory Cleary to strike the front and, while he needed the line late on, he held on to defeat a rallying War Hero by half a length.
The victorious five-year-old carries the colours of Nigel O’Hare.
“I’m delighted for Nigel as it’s his first winner in his colours. He’s from Mayobridge near Newry and his colours are his local club colours. This horse has now paid for himself and he’s a real fun horse who can do six or seven furlongs,” said McGuinness. “It’s been a great year and we have great staff who work really hard, so long may it continue.”
At the end of a year in which he contested the first two-year-old maiden of 2021, the Jack Davison-trained Turn On The Jets (5/1) got off the mark at the fourth attempt in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Race over five furlongs.
As he looked to build on a fourth to Incrimination here the previous week, the Martin Moylan-owned son of Mehmas came with a good looking effort as the last furlong loomed. Ronan Whelan’s mount was soon in charge and he reached the line a length and a quarter ahead of Sacred Territory.
AT the end of a year in which he trained more flat winners in Ireland than anyone else it was entirely fitting that Joseph O’Brien should make his mark at Dundalk’s final fixture for 2021 and he did so with Almanera (7/1) in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden over seven furlongs.
A barrier trial winner here in the summer, the Almanzor colt was stepping forward from his first two starts in determined fashion. He came with a strong last-furlong charge for Mikey Sheehy to pick off the odds-on Together Aclaim nearing the line.
Almanera carries the colours of Martin O’Sullivan.
For the fourth year in succession O’Brien was crowned champion trainer at the track, while Chris Hayes was the top jockey of 2021 at Dundalk with 32 winners to his name.
For the second year in a row Prisoner’s Dilemma bagged the BetVictor-sponsored 45-75 rated seven-furlong handicap. The 9/2 favourite was always nicely placed in a forward position for the in-form Donagh O’Connor, who made it four winners from his last eight rides. The Epitome Racing-owned gelding won by half a length from Skontonovski.
“We didn’t over race him this year on the turf with an eye on Dundalk,” said Levins.
The other division of that seven-furlong handicap saw Gordon Elliott maintain his good strike rate on the polytrack this winter as Business (5/1) followed up his maiden win a week previously.
The top-weight moved to the head of a well-grouped field with over a furlong to run and he responded well to Sam Ewing’s urgings to remain on top in the closing stages, defeating the favourite Acquiescent by half a length.
“We might leave hurdling until the summer,” stated Elliott who trains the winner for Jimmy Mooney.
Prince Of Peace, who was beaten less than two lengths into fourth by Business the previous week, got his turn in the BetVictor-sponsored mile maiden. The 69-rated son of Elzaam is trained by John Cahill for Daniel McLoughlin and set out to make all under Danny Sheehy. The 100/30 shot stuck to his task well to defeat the 83-rated Giuliana by a length and a half.
HE lost his way somewhat after running a couple of big races at Group 3 level last season but the James McAuley-owned and trained Dalvey (7/1) has got back on track lately and landed his second decent prize in three runs in the extended 10-furlong handicap.
A winner of a two-mile handicap here in late November, the four-year-old was quite at home as he came back to this trip following a good second to Golden Twilight over a mile and a half a fortnight previously.
The son of Dansili quickened nicely for Jake Coen to strike the front with over a furlong to run and the pair held off the staying-on Grandmaster Flash by half a length.
“We ran him over two miles because he was working slow but since then he’s been getting quicker and quicker and he’s starting to realise his potential,” state McAuley.
“That’s 20 winners for the year for us and we never have more than about 16 riding out so it’s been a brilliant year.”
Jake Coen went on to complete a double as he stepped in for the unwell Siobhan Rutledge to take the 45-65 rated extended 10-furlong handicap on John McConnell’s Arctic Blaze. The 5/1 favourite came here off a run that had yielded three runner-up efforts from her last four starts and stamped her authority on the race over the last furlong to defeat Picpoul by two lengths.
“John Flynn has been a long standing owner of mine and he’s had four or five horses that have been disasters but he’s always been very patient. I’m really thrilled to have a first winner for him as he’s been so loyal and patient,” declared McConnell.