We have just the one runner at Dundalk tonight when Pat Smullen rides Gougane Barra in the six furlong maiden.
He’s a nice horse and he has been off the track for a while, but he is working nicely and I’d expect him to run a nice race. It’s his first start for 401 days, so whatever he does tonight, he will improve a fair amount for it.
It’s good to have Pat on board and he is the first person that I ring when we have runners and we have just the one entered, Kirk’s Dancer for Dundalk next Wednesday.
Credit is due to Horse Racing Ireland and Dundalk, as it’s clear from the number of horses being balloted over the last few weeks that we need extra races and fixtures.
Take Kirks Dancer’s race as an example. It is hard to fathom that there are twenty four horses entered for a mile and a half maiden at this time of the year. It’s clear that there is an appetite for winter racing at Dundalk and hopefully we might see an extra fixture or two put on this month.
Kirk’s Dancer is owned Eric Koh and I’d expect her to run a nice race on Wednesday, should she make the cut. I think she’ll appreciate stepping up to a mile and a half and we know that she likes the surface.
Mr Koh is a good client of ours and he had a winner in Dundalk last Friday with the improving Invincible Ryker, who won the seven furlong apprentice handicap under Ross Coakley.
He got 5lbs for that success and he now races off 79. He is a big scopey horse and I think there is more to come from him and we’ll keep him on the go at Dundalk over the winter.
Both Riyazan and Rehana received their invitations for the Dubai Carnival and the plan is to send them over on either the 27th of December or the 4th of January.
Riyazan is in very good form and he’ll be aimed at the Meydan Classic Trial on February 8th and the Meydan Classic Listed race on March 1st.
He’s a horse that we’ve always liked and he rounded off his campaign over here, winning a listed race at Dundalk. He has bumped into some very smart juveniles this season and he strikes me as a horse that should thrive in Dubai.
Rehana did very well for her break and she looks great and the options for her over there include the $160,000 handicap on January 11th and the Cape Verdi Gr2 for fillies and mares, over 1 mile on January 25th.
We just ran out of opportunities over here for her due to the ground – ideally she likes good fast ground and she should get that in Dubai and I’m looking forward to running her over there.
The prize money is terrific in Dubai and we’ve enjoyed some great days over there and the obvious highlight being the success of Certerach in the Dubai Gold Cup in 2014.
It’s great to be going back there with two nice horses and I’ve been pleased with them since they arrived back after a short break at Giltown and I’ll have an update on their progress in a couple of weeks’ time.