Storm Has Broken wins the Nursery Handicap at Dundalk Stadium on Friday night. PICTURE: Patrick McCann/GO RACING

RACING | Take Cover and Storm Has Broken amongst the winners on a wild night at Dundalk Stadium

On a night when Storm Brian tried to interrupt racing, the evergreen Take Cover was an aptly-named winner of the €47,500 Al Basti Equiworld Mercury Stakes at Dundalk Stadium on Friday — a race he also won in 2015.

Given a beautiful ride by David Allan, the ten-year-old nudged ahead inside a windswept final furlong to win by a neck from Darren Bunyan’s Hit The Bid and take his career earnings to nearly £630,000.

Michael O’Hagan was on hand to present the winner’s trophy on behalf of Al Basti Equiworld’s founder, Mahli Al Basti, who was enjoying the race from the warmth of Dubai.

Storm Has Broken was another appropriate winner in the nursery, ensuring that trainer Darren Bunyan went home with a win as the Leigh Roche-ridden gelding, owned by the Do Well Syndicate, gained a first career success on what was his first run in a handicap. He was backed from 25/1 into 14/1 so his victory was clearly not a surprise.

Having begun the evening seven behind Colin Keane in the flat jockeys’ championship, Pat Smullen reduced that to five with wins on Katiymann and Massif Central, both of them owned by Paul Rooney and both trained by Curragh-based Michael Halford.

In a thrilling finish, Katiymann got up close home to win the €26,000 Book Your Christmas Party at Dundalk Stadium Handicap, while Massif Central won the card’s mile maiden.

The first division of the seven-furlong Crowne Plaza Hotel-sponsored handicap went to Boxer Dunford, who is owned by Denis Coakley and Arthur Connick, trained by Denis and was ridden by his son Ross, and the second to Bouquet Garni, who is trained by Edward O’Grady, owned by his wife and was ridden by Billy Lee.

The opening race, the Apprentice Claimer was won by Joseph O’Brien’s Thomas O’Malley who, ridden by Sean Corby, followed up a recent Turf win at Ballinrobe in good style.

The final race went to a rejuvenated My Direction. Having won at Dundalk on September 29th, he came from nearly last to first here to get up close to win under Oisin Orr.

This Friday’s racing, October 27th, will feature the €55,000 Irish Stallion Farms EBF Cooley Stakes for fillies and mares aged three or older. Another quality night of racing, minus the presence of Storm Brian, looks assured.

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