IT'S TWO CLOSE TO CALL NOW.
WITH just two winners separating Johnny Murtagh and Pat Smullen, tonight's fixture at Dundalk will play a leading role as to who will land the jockey's title this season.
Murtagh looked home and hosed going into last Sunday's meeting at Leopardstown with a healthy lead of five, but Smullen partnered a treble on the day and it would be a surprise if the pair were not amongst the winner's this evening.
Smullen has a great chance in the opening two-year-old maiden on the Paul Deegan trained Srucahan, who has plenty of experience and was second on his penultimate start in the Birdcatcher Nursery at Naas last month.
From stall one, he could be hard to peg back and that should reduce the deficit to just one.
The pair appear to be on the two that count in the six furlong handicap, but I think Murtagh's mount Stones Peak who is 3lbs better off for a length beating by Wellmarked at Cork last month, can oblige for Pat Martin.
Smullen has a big chance of landing the mile and a quarter handicap on Six Silver Lane, but at this stage, it is looking more likely than not that the title will be decided on the final day of the season at Leopardstown on Sunday.
The feature event is the Listed Cooley Stakes and I think it is destined for export and Clinical looks the one to beat, where she may have most to fear from Mosque as Romance.
Cheerful Giver has been used as a pacemaker of late and he should appreciate the drop in class and land the claimer for Jim Bolger and Kevin Manning.
Alkazim has been a model of consistency and assuming his busy season has not left its mark, he looks the one to beat in the auction maiden.
SLIGHT LEAD Johnny Murtagh