There are racecourses which, due to their unique nuances, take getting to know. Galway, Downpatrick, Sligo and Bellewstown are just some such in Ireland. Akin to Epsom, Chester, York, Cartmel and Aintree in Britain.
Dundalk Stadium merits inclusion in a similar bracket. Most obviously because it’s Ireland’s only All Weather course. Equally though due to the reality that some horses will act on the surface, others won’t. As a result of which it’s not unusual to see horses run up sequences of victories or commendable performances at the Co Louth venue.
Tonight was one such occasion when regular visitors – be they horse, jockey or trainer – held the upper hand. The main protaginists in the joust for the Flat Jockeys Championship, Colin Keane and Shane Foley, were both on the mark, but it was Gavin Cromwell’s Crystal Dawn who took the opening contest under promising Conditional Sam Ewing. It was the filly’s second week in a row to hit the jackpot on the Polytrack.
Keane’s success came courtesy of track regular Adrian McGuinness’s Pillar, while Foley hit back aboard Soaring Sky trained by his boss Jessica Harrington.
There was also another repeat notable performance on the card when Moving Forward – claimed after running well up there last week – who did the business on his first start for new handler Shane Duffy.
From a local perspective, the Mulvany’s Bar Syndicate can again be satisfied with their night’s work as Drakensberg ran a fine race over a trip well short of his optimum to finish a staying on third under Seamie Heffernan.
For his part, the latter named rider chalked up a double for his Ballydoyle/Coolmore bosses, but, personally speaking, the highlight of the night’s fare was seeing Wilkinstown trainer Liam McAteer back amongst the winner. No stranger to success, he had stepped away from training for a bit but after Amazing Emma was a surprise winner of the third race, his return to the ranks was handsomely vindicated.