Jagoes Mills solid choice to complete hat-trick.
IT'S an untypical winter Friday for punters with racing through the day, on account of the return of the Flat at Dundalk this evening. Thurles stages the afternoon action for the second day in a row, with the programme boosted by the addition of the Nas Na Riogh Chase, transferred from Sunday's cancelled meeting at Naas.
In the rescheduled feature at 3.20, the Henry de Bromhead-trained An Cathaoir Mor has a Grade 1 penalty following his fine victory in the Arkle Cup at Leopardstown. He won that race principally because the leaders cut each other's throats, with David Casey demonstrating good judgement of pace to take advantage.
He is entitled to start favourite today, but the Tom O'Leary-trained Jagoes Mills looks a realistic alternative having already gone a long way towards making up for lost time by winning the last twice at today's venue and Fairyhouse in the style of a progressive horse.
Karinga Queen (4.30) made a lot of the running in the 3m event won by Jagoes Mills and jumped with gusto as well. She did well to hang on to second ahead of subsequent winner The Midnight Club, and if reproducing that form she should have the measure of Kind Oscar.
The first Flat race of the year at Dundalk could result in Oliver McKiernan, much better known as a jumps trainer, getting his name on the scoreboard in the 2m maiden (7.00).
He gives a first Flat outing to Whodoyouthink, who won a 2m4f maiden hurdle at Leopardstown's Christmas meeting and has since finished fourth behind Dunguib in the Deloitte Hurdle at the same venue. He may need every inch of the trip to assert his stamina, but the opposition looks weak and McKiernan has booked Declan McDonogh, who is a fine judge of pace and rides the Polytrack well.
Dermot Weld has Cheltenham in his sights with a select team, including Rite Of Passage, but he will be as keen as ever to get quickly off the mark on the Flat.
Designated Decoy, a course-anddistance winner last season shortly after finishing third in the Irish Lincoln, is Weld's first runner and could be good enough, but a safer bet could be stablemate Bobs Pride half an hour later in the 1m4f race (8.30).
Also a course-and-distance winner, the one-time Group 3 winner goes into tonight's most valuable race with the advantage of race-fitness from his outings in Grade 1 novice chases.