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Tuesday, 11 December, 2018

Guard bids to book Good Friday ticket on latest raid for Baker

George Baker: makes the trip to Dundalk with Guard Of Honour
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Dundalk 7.00 - Digital Marketing and Website Design Services Handicap | 2m | 4yo+ | ATR

The George Baker-trained Guard Of Honour has made the trip across the Irish Sea and run well in some of Ireland's most prestigious Flat handicaps, and the six-year-old is back on Irish shores to make his Dundalk debut here.

No match for Winning Story at Newcastle last month, the Galileo gelding will need to win or go close here to get a sufficient rise in the weights in order to guarantee a run in the Marathon final at Lingfield on Good Friday.

Baker is taking no chances and has secured the services of Colin Keane as he hopes to make his Irish trip a winning one.

The Jim Bolger-trained Mandatario heads the weights under Kevin Manning. The five-year-old has won over this course and distance in the past, but found Friday's rivals Venezia and Winter Lion too hot here in November.

Black Label and Rathmuck Native are wrong at the weights but connections have decided to use claimers in a bid to offset that disadvantage.

Course form

The majority of the runners have won on this surface in the past but only Mandatario and Winter Lion have won over the course and distance.

What they say

George Baker, trainer of Guard Of Honour
Every time he’s gone to Ireland he’s run well. I was delighted with his comeback run in October at Leopardstown and he ran to about his rating at Newcastle last time. I’m hoping he can run in the Marathon final on Good Friday and he needs to go up a bit to get into that. He’s in good order and this looks a nice race for him to have a go at.

Matthew Smith, trainer of Winter Lion
He needs good ground. He won over the course and distance back in November but he found a mile and a half too sharp last time. Back up in trip, I’m expecting a nice run.

Conor Hoban, rider of Venezia
He enjoys the surface at Dundalk and he seems to be in very good form at home. He has run well on his last two starts there and he won’t mind the step up in trip.

Andy Slattery, trainer of Sharjah
With the way he has been running lately, I thought we would give him the opportunity to step up in trip here. We'll ride a normal race and hopefully he will stay on at the finish. I think he has every chance.

Ado McGuinness, trainer of Black Label
He stayed on very well last time but he probably had too much ground to try to make up. I know he's a couple of pounds wrong at the weights but we are claiming off him and we expect a big run.

Peter Fahey, trainer of Rathmuck Native
We're hopeful of a nice run but she's probably better on the grass. We're claiming a few pounds off her back because she is out of the handicap. We are hopeful rather than confident.

We'll ride a normal race and hopefully he will stay on at the finish. I think he has every chance

Key data

Guard of Honour
E.W. Terms
Sky bet