It was great to start off 2019 with a winner last week at Dundalk and Ahlan Bil Zain was an impressive winner of the seven-furlong handicap last Friday.

He did it well and he is clearly thriving at the minute and the handicapper gave him 11lbs for winning last week, so he’ll have to take on better opposition the next day, but we’ve been delighted with him and he has come out of that race in very good form.

We bring two to Dundalk tonight and we start off with Beethoven’s Gal in the two-year-old maiden.

I thought she ran a lovely race on her first start in a maiden here last month and she’s a filly that we’ve always liked and despite getting a bit tired in the final half furlong, she stayed on well to finish third on her debut last month.

She has come forward for that and despite an outside draw, I’d be expecting a big run from her.

This has been a lucky race for us – we’ve won it for the last four years and I think Beethoven’s Gal has a great chance of enhancing our good record in this contest.

Ross Coakley is an important part of the team here and he is riding very well at present and he keeps the ride on Beethoven’s Gal, having ridden her on her first start.

Ross also rides La Novia in the first division of the apprentice handicap. She has held her form very well at Dundalk and she clearly likes the surface.

DUNDALK 23-11-18. LA NOVIA and Niall McCullagh. Photo Healy Photography

She is a course and distance winner and has a good draw and assuming they go a good gallop, I’d like to think that she will come home well and run a very big race.

We’ve been happy with her since her last run and like all those big runner fields at Dundalk, you need a bit of luck in running and assuming she gets that, you’d be hoping that she will get into the shakeup.

She has an entry in the February Sales at Goffs and it would be great to win again with her before then.