Dermot Weld trained Don Camillo is on an upward curve
Ahead of a weekend of top-class Flat action at the Curragh, it's rather curious to have racing on the all-weather this evening at Dundalk where the closing 12-furlong handicap looks like the highlight of an eight-race card.
It might only have attracted seven runners, but the finale is an interesting contest with Dermot Weld-trained Don Camillo likely get most of the attention from punters.
A lightly-raced three-year-old, the son of Breeders' Cup Classic winner Ghostzapper finished fourth on its debut over a mile at this venue in December before showing marked improvement to stroll away with an extended 10-furlong maiden at the end of March.
There's no doubt that Don Camillo will have to progress further again if he is to get the better of Johnny Murtagh's Hardstone and the Michael Halford-trained Won Diamond, but Pat Smullen's mount possesses the potential to go on to better things.
The action gets under way with an auction maiden for juveniles over five furlongs and this looks like a good opportunity for the Ger Lyons-trained Birdcage to break its duck on the back of a promising start to its career.
That debut run at Tipperary saw the daughter of Showcasing finish a respectable third to Ballydoyle colt Washington DC at Tipperary and with normal improvement, Colin Keane's mount should prove too strong for a bunch of mainly inexperienced rivals.
The following five-furlong maiden for older horses is a competitive contest, but a chance is taken on one of the most experienced runners in the field, Sassy But Classy. David Marnane's filly has already shown that she acts and her seasonal return behind Sassaway was full of promise.
The chances of Eddie Lynam-trained pair of Iffraja and Captain Power are respected, while Willie McCreery's consistent Ostatnia will have its supporters but Sassy But Classy looks to have the most solid credentials.
Smullen teams up with Ted Walsh aboard Tomorrow Morning in the seven-furlong handicap, which looks a wide-open affair. Wardel, Koybig, Sheeba and Ishebayorgrey are all last-time winners that merit consideration, but a chance is taken on Cape Wolfe to open its account for the Lyons-Keane axis.
As for the Classic action at the Curragh, Richard Hannon intends to launch a twin assault on Saturday's Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas with both Ivawood and Estidhkaar.
Ivawood put a rather dull reappearance in the Greenham behind him when finishing third to Gleneagles at Newmarket. In contrast, Estidhkaar ran much better in the Greenham but disappointed at Newmarket.