The race to be Champion Jockey continues at Dundalk Stadium. Colin Keane leads Pat Smullen by three, 85–82

RACING | Keane retains his three-race lead over Smullen on another dramatic night

A beautifully bred filly winning the big race, wins for each of the jockeys chasing the championship title, and a proposal of marriage. It was just another Friday night at Dundalk Stadium last week!

The feature race, the €45,000 Al Basti Equiworld Carlingford Stakes was won by one of the best-bred horses in training, Goldrush, a filly owned by the China Horse Race Club International.

They paid €1.7million to acquire the daughter of the brilliant racehorse and promising sire, Frankel, and the five-time Group One winner Alexander Goldrun who, like Goldrush, was trained by Jim Bolger.

Having won on her debut at Navan, the race represented a big step up in class, but she was up to the challenge, quickening inside the final furlong to win something in hand under jockey Kevin Manning.

The race marked the start of a three-year sponsorship deal between Dundalk and Al Basti Equiworld, a Dubai-based major supplier of equine feeds, nutrients and bedding. Their sponsorship will also cover the €47,500 Mercury Stakes, which will be run at Dundalk this Friday, October 20th.

Coming into the evening, Colin Keane led Pat Smullen by three (84–81) in this season’s jockeys’ championship but Pat quickly closed the gap to two by winning the opening race on the Michael Halford-trained Andesh.

Just like two of Michael’s Dundalk three winners on October 6th, Andesh is owned by The Aga Khan. Colin restored his lead, though, when Ben Rumson got the better of a good duel with Jock Talk, ridden by Pat Smullen, in the card’s finale.

Trained by Tom McCourt, Ben Rumson has now won on three of his last four flat runs and, as he is in such good heart, could run again at Dundalk soon. He is part-owned by Sean Foran, who has “been a great supporter of mine for about 25 years”, said Tom.

Leigh Roche was in good form, landing a double on Denis Hogan’s Atlas, who was winning for the first time at Dundalk, and Pat Flynn’s Jessamine, who came back to form to register a second Dundalk success.

Available at 25/1 in the morning, the Shay Barry-trained Abraham got up close home under jockey Billy Lee to land the 12-furlong handicap at an SP of 7/1. Owner Colm Herron, his wife Audrey and friends and family were out in good force to cheer home what was clearly not an unexpected winner.

And, despite her 40/1 price, neither was the John Feane-trained, Killian Hennessy-ridden Vincita, a purchase from France having just her second run for John.

Having finished second in three of her first five races, the Joseph O’Brien-trained Shalailah, ridden by Joseph’s brother Donnacha, wasn’t winning out of turn in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Median Auction Maiden, and she became the second of four winning favourites on the night.

And then, just as the apt words “winner’s alright” rang out in the night sky, birthday-celebrating Calvin Bradley, who’d been invited to present the winner’s trophy for the last race, was handed the stadium microphone shortly before dropping to one knee and proposing marriage to his partner Amy. Thankfully a beaming Amy said yes. Cue the champagne, smiles, tears and congratulations.

Who knows what this Friday will hold at Dundalk!

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