The opening 1m claimer (16:00) on Dundalk’s Friday card has attracted a big field but doesn’t have a great deal of depth to it and appears to present a good opportunity for Confide to get back to winning ways.
James McAuley’s well-bred gelding was a winner on his final start for the David O’Meara yard at Newbury in 2020 and has only had one outing for his current connections, where he finished a good second to San Andreas at this track almost exactly a year ago.
He’s clearly not been the easiest to train since then, hence why he’s dropping into claiming company here, though if he retains the majority of the ability he showed when last seen, he’ll take plenty of beating in this company. It looks a positive sign of intent that champion jockey Colin Keane sees fit to take the ride.
Madonna to call the tune
In the 1m maiden (16:30) that follows the opener, I’m taking Sistine Madonna to improve on her debut effort and get off the mark at the second time of asking.
Bred to be at least useful, and from a family that the Joseph O’Brien yard knows well, she shaped with plenty of promise when fourth over 7f here last month. Settled in mid-division, she challenged entering final furlong and kept on without being unduly punished.
She does have a slightly tricky draw in stall 13 to overcome but has a very good pilot on board in Declan McDonogh. He knows this track like the back of his hand and should be able to get her into striking position despite being berthed wider than ideal.
The main danger could well be Johnny Murtagh’s twice-raced filly Chicago Lightening, who ran to a similar level as on debut when second in a maiden at this course early in January. She’s got a fair bit of stamina in her pedigree and should be suited by the step up to 1m having made both her starts to date over shorter.
Mulgrave fancied to complete the hat-trick
The third and final selection is Mulgrave in the 1m Handicap at 17:00, who has had a little break but was in fine form at this track when last seen in December.
Both of those wins were accompanied by good timefigures, most notably the second one, which suggests that the selection is capable of defying yet another rise and continue his winning ways.
The waters are noticeably deeper here, but when a horse like this gets on a roll it tends to pay to keep them onside, and I’m confident that Mulgrave will put up another good showing on a track he clearly relishes.
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