FASTNET Crown took in the Happy Christmas From All At Dundalk Handicap en route to Dubai and it proved a shrewd move by connections.

The five-year-old gelding made sustained headway in the straight and was ridden by Colin Keane to lead inside the final furlong. He stayed on well to pass the post with over a length in hand at 4/1.

Trainer Michael O’Callaghan said: “He has just taken a lot of time and he is a half-brother to I Am Superman who is six now and was second in a Group 1 on his last start in Australia.

“Tonight was just a prep run for Dubai, he is flying out to Dubai on 28th or 29th of this month. He went home after his last run to his owner/breeder Michael Smith’s farm to freshen him up with the intention of getting him back in and going to Dubai with I Am Superman as well.

“They worked here two weeks ago and this race just appeared on the calendar, and we ran him for a bit of prize money instead of working him.”

Keane was also in winning form on Tony Martin’s Firstman (11/1) in the William Hill Play Responsibly Handicap over a mile and a half.

The Zoffany gelding had far from a clear route, but came with his challenge down the outer a furlong out and saw off Palace Rock by almost a length, with the pair clear of the remainder.

Martin said: “He nearly got done there, the two of them were nearly in the car park! He is what he is and it is grand that he did that. They (Keep Your Distance Syndicate) are a great bunch of local lads, neighbours of mine and I’ve known them a long time.”

Football league

No Speed Limit brought up his third career success, and first over the five-furlong trip, when getting up by a head in the William Hill Extra Places Everyday Handicap.

The 9/4 favourite disputed inside the final furlong and kept on best to lead close home.

Trainer Patrick McKenna said: “Conor, the son, is just back from Australia yesterday so we wanted to get running with him here before he goes back. The horse will be sold; it is his horse and he’s going back to Australia.”

Conor McKenna won the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship with Tyrone in 2021 and is resuming his career in the Australian Football League after Christmas.

Winning Tango for O’Brien

CONOR Stone-Walsh came in for a winning spare ride on Joseph O’Brien’s Dancing Tango in the William Hill Lengthen Your Odds Maiden at Dundalk. Hugh Horgan was unwell so the 10lb claimer grabbed his opportunity. The 15/8 favourite closed in third a quarter of a mile out and took over with a furlong and a half to race. She soon asserted and hit the line almost three lengths clear for Fishdance Limited.

Assistant trainer Brendan Powell said: “She handles the surface and stays well. Conor has given her a lovely ride. I think she would win over a bit shorter as well, but she stays the trip well.”

Very difficult

Willie Browne’s imposing filly Diamondsareforever (10/1) made a taking debut in the Race for juveniles. She tracked the leaders before Seamie Heffernan steered her to the front in the final furlong. She soon strode in by almost two lengths for Mrs Richard Henry.

Browne said: “She’s huge, she is 17.1 hh. He (sire Justify) is a very big horse himself. She is very well bred on the dam’s side as well. She will get stronger, she is a bit weak at the moment. You can’t beat class.”

Vadiana (9/2) got off the mark at the fourth time of asking in the HRI Best Turned-Out Flat League (Fillies) Maiden. She powered away from the field in the final furlong under Ronan Whelan for a comfortable three-length success on her first try on Polytrack.

Trainer Tracey Collins said: “I’m not surprised she has done that, she’s a filly we have always thought an awful lot about. I must say her owners, Sonia and Anthony Rogers of Celbridge Estates Ltd, have been unbelievable because she is not an easy filly. She has been very difficult and they have given me all the time that we want with her.”

Whelan doubled up aboard 16/5 shot Dromantine in the TRM Champion Awards 2022 Nursery Handicap. This was the Lope De Vega filly’s first venture into handicap company and she stayed on best to deliver by just over a length for the Rollx Syndicate.

Mick Halford said: “We trained her dam (Via Ballycroy) and she won four for us, she had a lot of pace. I trained the dam for the owners as well. She has just come into her rating now and she had a lovely draw tonight, kept it simple and quickened up well.”

Winner everywhere

David Marnane’s Jered Maddox bounced back to form at 16/1 in the Dundalk Stadium Racing Returns 2023 Handicap. The six-year-old gelding got the better of Delta Romeo close home to win by half a length at 16/1 for the City Equine II Syndicate.

Jockey Declan McDonogh said: “They took the blinkers off him, he had been missing the start with the blinkers on. He pinged the gates and he travelled very well. He was a winner everywhere in my opinion. It is nice to win the last flat race of the year.”