Keane can seal deal on Rumson
Colin Keane is within touching distance of his first jockeys' championship as he brings a seven-winner lead into Dundalk this evening and a Smullen revival here would outweigh even Willie Mullins' comeback at last year's Punchestown Festival.
The hat-trick- seeking Ben Rumson could seal the deal for Keane in the finale.
Tom McCourt's five-year-old has been in a good vein of form of late and although it is not easy to win three on the trot anywhere in Ireland, especially at Dundalk, the return to a mile and a half can help see Ben Rumson over the line to defy the 11lb hike he has got since winning here at the end of September.
Had it not been for Smullen's suspension and if he was on Dermot Weld's couple of winners at Leopardstown on Saturday, we would be down to a gap of five and possibly a more interesting climax but Smullen can get back to winning ways for his boss in the www.dundalkstadium.com Maiden over 10 furlongs as Frima should oblige.
Fitted with cheek pieces for the first time, Frima has a rating of 82 and although coming from stall 11, the daughter of Frankel should be able to slot in and bide her time before proving too good in this type of field.
While the overall jockeys' championship would look almost decided, the last few meetings could prove interesting in the race to crown our champion apprentice this season, with Oisín Orr currently leading Killian Leonard by two winners.
This battle has been just as intriguing and probably got lost a little in the spotlight of Keane v Smullen but Orr has enjoyed a fine season and his boss Eddie Lynam can help him extend his lead on Ice Storm in the opening race.
Lynam runs four of the 12 in the opening race, including the Smullen-ridden Peace Officer, but Ice Storm ran well enough at Fairyhouse last week and can be rewarded for her consistency here if nothing else shows drastic improvement.
Orr also rides course-and- distance winner Sheisdiesel for Noel Meade in the Irishinjuredjockeys.com Handicap and she would have to be respected, stepping back up a furlong, as Meade looks for his third win on the Flat in the last week.
Leonard might have a say himself tonight, though, as Bluesbreaker would be given a chance in the Christmas Party Nights At Dundalk Stadium Apprentice Handicap.
Priced up at 6/1 on the first show yesterday evening, Damian English's charge looked a bit of value for this race at that as he has previously won off a much higher rating and has been showing signs of late that he could go in again off 52 if things fell right for him.