JOCKEY Robert Whearty forged a new alliance when partnering Royal Tribute to a half-length success in the Claiming Race. The 9/1 shot came with a surge in the final furlong to lead in the closing stages for the Premier Racing Club.

Whearty said: “It was my first ride for Denis (Hogan) and thankfully it was a winner. Hopefully onwards and upwards. I was following James McAuley’s horse (My Little Tip). I thought I travelled away lovely down to the furlong pole and I thought it was only a matter of picking them off when I came in the final 100 yards.”

Jaafel (15/2) brought up a double for Hogan when keeping on strongly in the Join On Instagram @dundalk_stadium Handicap over a mile for the Playground Syndicate. It took him until his 18th start to get off the mark over the course and distance last month, but he quickly supplemented that victory with this power-packed performance.

Joey Sheridan pushed him along to lead at the furlong pole and the pair opened up to land the spoils by three lengths. Sheridan said: “In fairness to Dan King, he gave him a peach the last day and got his confidence up. That often turns horses inside out and you saw it there.

“Denis said to me to ride him with loads of confidence and he won how he liked to be honest. He’s a grand horse and he always worked well, I think it was more confidence with him than anything else.”

Cold Steel forges ahead

ANDY Oliver and Billy Lee teamed up to land the final two races on the card. Cold Steel won over a mile and a half at this track at the end of November and dropped back to an extended 10 furlongs to take the Dundalk Stadium Gift Vouchers Handicap.

The 11/4 favourite raced close to the pace and was ridden to lead entering the final furlong. He was soon strongly pressed by Riccardi Medici but fended him off by a neck.

Oliver said of the Team Valor International LLC four-year-old gelding: “It looked competitive, there were horses with plenty of recent form in it. I was a wee bit afraid of the bounce factor, he had been off so long and came back and won.

“Everything went well and Billy gave him a nice ride. I thought he was headed within the last furlong, but he came back again - a good sign of a battling horse.”

Raced away

Make Us Proud (8/1) made an impressive debut for Oliver in the Crowne Plaza Dundalk Race & Stay Maiden. The three-year-old Champs Elysees gelding raced away from the field in the final furlong to come in five lengths clear for owner J.P. Ledwidge.

“I’d say he is a nice horse. He needed time to mature as a two-year-old so did very little as a two-year-old. He wasn’t huge at the sales but he grew last year. He has really only been training this year. He has just been a horse that has taken time to come to himself, but he always showed us a bit,” Oliver said.

Sioux Nation filly impresses for O’Brien

JOSEPH O’Brien’s Elusive Tune (12/1) showed improvement from an opening sixth at Dundalk to win the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Median Auction Race over seven furlongs. The Sioux Nation filly raced in mid-division, made headway in the final quarter of a mile to lead at the furlong pole and soon put the race to bed by two lengths.

Mikey Sheehy, in Annemarie O’Brien’s colours, said: “She has done it well, in fairness to her, from a wide draw. I was probably a little bit further back than I would have liked, but we were going along and I got a nice toe into the race off the lads.”

Shangrilama (5/2f) beat her former stablemate Pub Talk by half a length in the Now Racing Every Wednesday Nursery Handicap.

After Colin Keane drove her home for owner Liam Queally, Noel Meade said: “She probably doesn’t kill herself in work and probably doesn’t kill herself in the race, but it is nice to win two in a row with her anyway.”

Christmas joy

Inflection Point, who was claimed by John McConnell last month, delivered for him in the first split of the Christmas Party Nights At Dundalk Handicap. Siobhan Rutledge steered the 11/4 shot to the front with a quarter of a mile to travel and the duo held on well by a head from a threatening Zig Zag Zyggy.

He took the first prize for the owners - Saturday Night Racing Syndicate, and Mark Devlin and Nigel O’Hare and Kabin Racing Syndicate - and afterwards, McConnell said: “All I had to do was canter him around for a couple of weeks! He’s a grand horse and was down to a good mark. He had a nice run the last day (in third) and the strong pace suited him, he had something to aim at.”

Leanne Breen got back to winning ways when Livingston Range made all in division two of the Christmas Party Nights At Dundalk Handicap. The 7/2 co-favourite kept up the gallop over the six-furlong trip to come in by three-parts of a length under Mark Enright.

The owner/trainer said: “That’s it exactly (enjoys bossing the race). In a higher grade he might be there to be shot at against horses with more of a turn of foot. At Navan he has got the stiff hill, so we might put him away and tip away at those races.”