1pt e.w. Shore in 4.30 Dundalk at 8/1 (General 1/5 1,2,3)
2pts win Boyne River in 6.30 Dundalk at 5/4 (General)
1pt e.w. International Lady in 7.00 Dundalk at 14/1 (Sky Bet 1/5 1,2,3,4,5)
Three selections on this evening's Dundalk card but before getting stuck into those I just wanted to reiterate my point over the post-COVID weight allowance for jockeys, something I spoke about on these pages for the first time back in August.
It's very disappointing to read about the proposed changes to what have become the current weights structures in the UK - I know from talking to my former colleagues based there that they all feel the same, that they've essentially been riding better because of it, but not only that - their general home life is better, and their wellbeing has been better too due to the 3lb allowance.
In an era where the authorities are pushing every kind of angle as regards what to do for mental health and jockeys' health, it's a total retrograde step on their behalf to now look to remove the allowance and it has been very badly handled by the BHA, and perhaps by the PJA too, who didn't seem to communicate the whole consequences from the survey they conducted on their members.
Given that it's not due to come into force until the end of March, it should just be left as it is in my view and hopefully common sense will prevail before then. For me it's just another situation really poorly handled by the BHA and leads to further questions about how well the current administration of the BHA are up to the job.
Annamarie Phelps and Julie Harrington have been more of less invisible for the past 18 months, certainly in comparison to former BHA chief exec Nick Rust who was front and centre and always put his point across well.
It's important to stress that horses have still been winning races and there have been no findings of adverse effects on any horses when it comes to the extra weight carried.
The welfare of the horse has been put forward as one of the main counter-arguments but speaking to a couple of trainers this week it's interesting to hear them say a lot of horses have always tended to carry between 12st and 13st when riding out in a morning anyway, so I don't see it as an issue.
BOYNE RIVER is the bet of the night in the apprentice maiden at 6.30.
Joseph O'Brien's horse has a rating of 80 after showing some promising form
She's obviously not been straightforward to train but the three runs on turf and her one start at Dundalk have all been decent. She looked a bit ring-rusty at Naas when last seen last May but it was still a good run on soft ground and stepping down to seven furlongs should suit her very well.
Despite the time off I think she's the classy one in this field and should take the beating. I'd take the market confidence this morning as a positive thing.
Her market rival Giuliana has been largely disappointing and may not be the most resolute in a finish, while Pocket Veto shouldn't be up to the class of the selection.
INTERNATIONAL LADY looks an each-way play in the seven furlong handicap at 7.00.
She's dropping right back down in distance following a couple of runs over the extended 10 furlongs at this track. She doesn't stay that distance.
With a good draw in stall three, she should be much happier over this trip and was a winner at the track last May, as well as being placed a couple of times here. She's a decent record when coming back after a couple of months - as she is today - as there's some nice pace drawn by her which should help Dylan Browne McMonagle get the box seat just in behind the leaders.
Rolling right back to the opening claimer, I was initially quite keen on Zoom Tiger but his price crashed and then he was declared a non-runner so I'm going to take a chance on SHORE instead.
He's yet to win a race but is still unexposed after just six starts all told and he's shaped like he would win a race or two at some point, including when beaten a head over course and distance in a similar claimer last March.
He didn't get a clear run here on his comeback here last month so looks worth marking up and he's got stall one today which is a help. They remove the blinkers which were tried last time and I think he could go well under Seamie Heffernan.
Published at 1000 GMT on 28/01/22
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