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Smullen set to steal the show

By Martin Kelly

Newly crowned champion jockey Johnny Murtagh has the distinction of having a race run in his honour at Dundalk's final fixture of the year tonight, but it is the man he dethroned who strikes as having the more exceptional book of rides.

Pat Smullen boasts six absolutely cracking mounts at the Co Louth venue. While Murtagh, who bagged a double here a week ago, isn't exactly shorn of opportunities, his counterpart is expected to take most of the plaudits on this occasion.

The pick of the Offaly native's collective may be Elusive Ridge in the Crowne Plaza Hotel Race, the programme's most valuable heat with €10,350 to the winner.

Just five go to post, with Jamesie the closest to the recommendation on ratings.

However, David Marnane's charge disappointed last week, and the step up to a mile from six furlongs may not be the answer.

Elusive Ridge, on the other hand, has been in superb form for Harry Rogers, two recent wins bringing his course tally to four.

The five-year-old's ability to front-run suits here, and will be to his advantage again as he seeks to give weight away all round.

Later on, Smullen can score on Marnane's Cool Athlete, while he also gets the nod on Eddie Lynam's Aragorn Rouge.

Never out of the first four here in five starts, the latter finished second over 12 furlongs two weeks ago. Back over a mile in a poor race, he should deliver.

Should Elusive Ridge collect, Rogers could be poised to land his third successive double at Dundalk, and the Chris Hayes-ridden Lily's Star might be the one to secure the brace for him in the penultimate handicap.

Belfast Telegraph

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