Dundalk preview : Knock Stars & Toccata Blue set for victory

An eight-race Dundalk card starting at 5:50pm takes centre stage in racing on Friday after all other meetings were called off.

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Racing begins with the www.dundalkstadium.com Handicap at 5.50. It could pay to side with Knock Stars at 9/4.  Pat Martin’s mare has been knocking on the door over C&D recently.  She has Almadaa and Copper Dock behind her when second to the in-form Farmleigh House at this venue in the run-up to Christmas. Recent winner Rigid Rock is sure to mount a bold bid if arriving in the same mood as when scoring gamely over track and trip latest.

Three last-start winners meet in the Floodlit Friday Nights At Dundalk Handicap at 7:20pm, with Shake The Bucket and Dimitar going in at the same meeting a fortnight ago. This an open contest with Eddie Lynams Dimitar at probably looking the pick of the race at 7/1. Although up seven pounds for his last victory, he is twice a course and distance winner, both wins coming in his last three runs. He clearly like many of Lynams horses enjoys the all weather track and he could represent value from a low draw. Shake The Bucket drops back in trip but may be good enough to finish in the money and the improving Beat The Ballot who could still be ahead of the assessor is also worthy of shortlist inclusion.

Like Magic at 5/1 couldn’t quite reward his supporters here last week, but gets the opportunity to go one better in the Dundalk Stadium – Light Up Your Night Handicap at 6:50pm , the real danger seems to be in the dropped in trip Red Laser. The Mick Halford trained four-year old was only beaten by under two lengths to Dimitar on his most recent outing over a mile. The drop to seven furlongs could suit and he can go one place better in this contest. Recent C & D winner Doonard Prince is also one for the shortlist.

Toccata Blue at 11/4  has had plenty of experience and Ger Lyons tries blinkers for the first time in the hope that he makes it sixth-time lucky in the Crowne Plaza Hotel Race & Stay Maiden at 6:20pm. Mick Halford’s Ebadani ran a good race on his debut when finishing sixth over a mile here. He could very well have improved from that and could also make the frame.

The Crowne Plaza Leading Jockey & Trainer Championship Maiden is an open contest at 7:50pm . The pick of them looks to be Gigginstown Stud representative Edeymi at 7/1, who finished a creditable third in last year’s Fred Winter at the Cheltenham Festival. However, the nod goes to Zip Wire, who left behind a moderate debut fourth at Cork when stepped up to the extended 1m2f here in November. Now granted this stiffer test, there could be further improvement to come. Second over C&D last month, Manuka has place claims again. Absolutlyfantastic is another classy sort and if he puts his run here two weeks ago behind him, he could well finish in the frame.

In the final contest of the night at 9:20pm we see useful jumper Days ahead at 5/2, who took advantage of his lowly Flat mark when winning over 1m3f here two. He has been given a 5lb rise in the weights; but he seems to still remain well treated and has the ability to progress further on the level. He meets Noverre Princess again today who he only beat by a length the last day. She wasn’t penalised for that effort and could very well come out on top on Friday.


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