Happy new year for Ho­gan

The Argus - - SPORT -

RAC­ING at Dundalk in 2019 be­gan with a win for the Denis Ho­gan-trained Amanaat (8/1), who swept smoothly through the field in the hands of Don­agh O’Con­nor to land the BetVic­tor Hand­i­cap in good style.

The James McAu­ley-owned six-year-old geld­ing also won at Dundalk in Novem­ber and, hav­ing won so well tonight, a quick re­turn to the venue wouldn’t be a sur­prise.

Just like the open­ing-race win­ner, North­ern Sur­prise came from out of the clouds in the sec­ond race, a mile hand­i­cap, to regis­ter a 20/1 suc­cess in the hands of Emma-Louise Doyle, who was hav­ing her first-ever ride in a race.

Emma is the daugh­ter of win­ning owner Claire and win­ning trainer Tim Doyle who, for good mea­sure, was also re­spon­si­ble for the run­ner-up in the race, Span­ish So­prano.

A de­lighted Emma said af­ter­wards: ‘He likes to come wide and kept pick­ing up for me – I can’t be­lieve it!’ Just 19, she is cur­rently study­ing for a busi­ness de­gree at Maynooth Col­lege.

Sec­ond at Dundalk on his lat­est start, Roger That (5/1) went one bet­ter tonight in hold­ing off the 11/8 favourite Em­pire Line to win the card’s six-fur­long maiden. Hav­ing set a cal­en­dar-year train­ing record of 36 Dundalk win­ners in Lead­ing Grey­hound Owner and Pri­vate Trainer 2018 with 34 and 39 wins re­spec­tively Paul Whyte is pre­sented with both tro­phies by Dundalk Sta­dium CEO Jim Martin and Mar­garet Ka­vanagh, Rac­ing Man­ager.

2018, Joseph O’Brien run­ning for 2019.

Mul­ti­ple-cham­pion trainer at Dundalk, Michael Hal­ford, also wasted no time in get­ting off the mark for 2019 when Ah­lan Bil Zain (4/1) ran out an easy win­ner of the seven-fur­long hand­i­cap in the hands of Ben Coen. In do­ing so, the five-year-old reg­is­tered a third win from his last five runs at the sta­dium.

Ben said af­ter­wards: ‘He’s im­proved a lot and is turn­ing into a lovely horse. He loves it here. He

is up and

took off when a gap ap­peared.’

Most peo­ple felt that Markhan had won the 12-fur­long hand­i­cap for Gor­don El­liott but the photo-print re­vealed that Park Row (7/1) had pre­vailed by a nose for the fa­ther and son team of trainer Denis and jockey Ross Coak­ley.

Park Row has now won five times at Dundalk and four times from nine runs since join­ing Denis.

Hav­ing fin­ished third in each of her last two races, the Gavin Cromwell-trained Ciao, who was rac­ing in blink­ers for the first time,

ran out a ready win­ner of the 10.5-fur­long maiden in the hands of Rob­bie Col­gan. Her ca­reer is clearly on an up­ward curve. Win­ning owner Martin Han­nan is from Sligo, hence the filly’s rac­ing colours.

The first di­vi­sion of the 10.5-fur­long BetVic­tor Hand­i­cap saw a re­turn to form of Duke Of Wasp­ing­ton (11/2), who pounced late un­der promis­ing ap­pren­tice Gavin Ryan to score by a head from the 15/8 favourite Span­ish Dawn.

The win­ner was rated ten- pounds higher in the spring than tonight and trainer Pat Mur­phy has clearly found the key to the lightly-raced six-year-old, who was win­ning for the first time.

Di­vi­sion two of the race went to Rag­time Red (10/1), who came with a sweep­ing run un­der Danny Sheehy in­side the fi­nal two fur­longs to re­verse re­cent form with run­ner-up McGuigan and win by a length and a half for trainer An­thony McCann in the dis­tinc­tive colours of the pop­u­lar Rita Shah.

Eight races on the night pro- duced eight dif­fer­ent win­ning train­ers and eight dif­fer­ent win­ning jock­eys. A very eq­ui­table way to be­gin the new year at Dundalk.

The next meet­ing is sched­uled for Fri­day Jan­uary 11th with a start time of 5:30pm (5pm if a race di­vides, which is en­tirely pos­si­ble given the de­mand for rac­ing at the track).

The card will in­clude two €25,000 races - the one-mile Dundalk Sta­dium Rated Race and the two-mile Fol­low @Dun­dalkS­ta­dium on Twit­ter Hand­i­cap.

Lead­ing Pub­lic Trainer 2018 Damian Maginn with 46 wins and Ryan Kear­ney are pre­sented with the tro­phy by Jim Martin and Mar­garet Ka­vanagh.

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