Feane: course form and courage will help Spruce Meadows in bid for repeat win
Irish Stallion Farms EBF "Red God" Handicap | 3yo+ | 1m2½f | ATR
Johnny Feane is hoping that Spruce Meadows' courage and liking for Dundalk's Polytrack surface will help the five-year-old's bid to land this €50,000 handicap for the second consecutive year.
Gary Halpin, who rode him to victory 12 months ago, is again on board. Feane said: "Spruce Meadows is high enough in the weights nowadays but he loves Dundalk and has won four times there.
"He's a very brave horse and is in great heart. He ran well at Ballinrobe last time, so we're hoping for a big run."
Ger Lyons, who has sent out two of the last five winners of the race, is represented by topweight Tennessee Wildcat and the lightly raced The Kid Bobby B, who will be making his first appearance since winning a mile maiden over the course on his second start in October.
Spiral Galaxy, an easy winner at Navan in June, is now 10lb higher and his trainer Anthony McCann said: "He's back from a break and we hope, and think, he has improved. It's very competitive so we'll have to see how he gets on, especially against the three-year-olds."
Wishing Star is one of four course-and-distance winners in the line-up and won a maiden at the track on her most recent start last month.
Her trainer Fozzy Stack said: "She's in good order and we know she handles the surface well. She's 5lb out of the handicap but we're claiming 7lb and that should help. We're trying cheekpieces and hopefully they'll help too."
Dual winner El Greco represents Aidan O'Brien and has the inside draw in stall one, while the Jim Bolger-trained Dawn Hoofer, a three-time winner this season, is making a quick reappearance after running second to Law Girl in the McEnery Cup at Gowran Park on Wednesday.
EY Chase | 5yo+ | 2m6f | ATR
Flaxen Flare has not won for over three years but Gordon Elliott, encouraged by the nine-year-old's recent efforts, believes he can achieve an overdue success in Friday's opener at Tramore.
Elliott said of Davy Russell's mount, who will be bidding for a second chase win: "The conditions of the race favour Flaxen Flare and it looks a good opportunity for him. He's been running well, mainly over hurdles, and is in good order."
Flaxen Flare faces seven rivals, notably Jarob, who finished fourth behind Sub Lieutenant at the Galway festival.
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