It takes Intelligence to win at Dundalk
Ambassadorial bids to maintain his unbeaten record when he returns to action in the Listed Dundalk Patton Stakes this evening.
This €45,000 seven-furlong contest has attracted just six runners, with Aidan O'Brien saddling two, the 110-rated Intelligence Cross and the 94-rated War Secretary, from his original entry of five.
Mick Halford's charge won both starts as a juvenile with two nice performances over this course and distance and, off a mark of 106, looks set to do battle with Intelligence Cross in the evening's feature event.
O'Brien's Group Three winner was last seen contesting the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf at Santa Anita and entries in the 2,000 Guineas and the Epsom and Irish Derbies suggest connections expect a big season.
He took a Curragh Group Three over six furlongs in August before his Middle Park fourth behind The Last Lion and his Santa Anita disappointment.
He'd look capable of giving the 3lb to Ambassadorial.
Halford has another unbeaten runner in the €17,000 sprint handicap in the shape of Yulong Xiongyin, who drops to the minimum trip after a very taking winning debut over seven furlongs here in December.
However, Tilly Trotter provides stiff competition as Dermot Weld's inmate looks to follow up an impressive victory over this track and trip in October.
I'm prepared to take a chance with Red Sabor who showed plenty at Naas on his reappearance and will appreciate the drop back in trip.
O'Brien takes the wraps off €525,000 purchase Dali in the two-year-old maiden which starts the eight-race card, and the yard have leading claims in the 10-and-a-half-furlong three-year-old handicap with the Frankel colt San Remo, who might have Room To Roam and Slaney Street to beat.
The Ballydoyle handler is double-handed in the three-year-old fillies' maiden with Key To My Heart and Puppetshow, both of whom showed enough last year to suggest they are up to winning a race of this nature.
Breeze might be the main danger to Puppetshow..
Johnny Levins landed the Claiming Race with Shukhov 12 months ago and the Kildare handler bids to repeat the dose in this year's renewal with recent course scorer Burn The Boats.
But it is impossible to ignore Elusive In Paris at these weights.
Six Silver Lane also bids for a quickfire double in the 45-65 handicap but a 3lb rise may just give him that bit more to do and allow Jim Bolger's Locus Standi to reverse recent form.
The other 45-65 race on the card is the rescheduled sprint that was cancelled due to the five-furlong track at Tipperary been unfit for racing yesterday.
Battleroftheboyne, one of the top weights, has to race off his turf mark of 60.
In a normal race here at Dundalk, he would be taking his chance off 49, his polytrack rating, but the rules aren't flexible enough to remedy this anomaly as in the eyes of Irish racing's officialdom this is still a Turf race.
Pillar has been knocking on the door in recent weeks and another bold bid looks likely in this, although Shelbe returned with a good second here last month and rates a serious threat.
6.00 Red Sabor
7.00 Elusive In Paris (Dbl)
7.30 Intelligence Cross (Nap)
8.30 San Remo
9.00 Locus Standi
5.25 True Blue Moon
6.00 Tilly Trotter
7.00 Burn The Boats
8.30 Room To Roam
9.00 Six Silver Lane