It was a tip in itself, Kevin Manning riding in the 2.40 at Newmarket and then rushing to Dundalk to take the mount on Intense Style a little over three hours later. I suspect that, like me, the majority of Dowdallshill punters didn’t read into it, because in coming home an unchallenged winner, Intense Style was on offer at 11/2 in a field of just seven. Manning’s earlier mount, Lucida, was also a winner.
Friday night’s meeting was the first in a series that will see racing at the local track each week – and sometimes, twice a week - right up to Christmas. Then, after a short break, the gallopers will be out again on a regular basis up until April.
What to look out for? The same, I suppose, as at most other tracks where the emphasis is on Flat racing.
Aidan O’Brien’s powerful Ballydoyle stable is a sound supporter of the Dundalk track. Hardly a meeting goes by that he doesn’t have runners – and winners. But, more than that, it’s where he has chosen, among other tracks, to give his children valuable experience in the art of race riding.
There are four of them. Joseph, the eldest and best-known, has ridden Derby winners in this country and the one closest to it, and has also been on the mark at America’s biggest Breeders’ Cup meeting; Sarah, Ana and Donnacha are still serving their apprenticeships, but, like their brother, know how to get one across the line.
Is this a record, by the way – four from the one family riding at the same time?
The two boys were on the mark on Friday night, Donnacha winning the race confined to apprentice riders on the JP McManus-owner Waver, and Joseph closing out the meeting with a smooth success on the odds-on Afonso De Sousa.
Taking my own advice, these are two other winners I should have been on, but wasn’t. If this first strike is a sign of things to come, it’s going to be yet another bleak winter at what we used to know as ‘The Mash’.