Machete Mark was a cosy winner from Sacred Dragon
©Healy Racing Photos
Machete Mark lived up to top billing in the Crowne Plaza Hotel Race & Stay Maiden at Dundalk with a cosy victory under a super-cool ride from Emmet McNamara.
The Ger Lyons-trained three-year-old was sent off the 8-11 favourite after a promising placed run on the all-weather surface in December and only the newcomer Sacred Dragon was supported against him.
These two tracked Mississippi John into the straight and when Sacred Dragon went on, McNamara sat motionless as he travelled sweetly on the leader's shoulder before nudging ahead to win by a cosy half-length.
Core Element (10-1) soon took up a handy position in the www.dundalkstadium.com Handicap and she was still there at the business end under 5lb claimer Colin Keane.
Shane Buggy's mare looked to be booked for second when Fastidious threw down a strong challenge in the final furlong, but she battled on strongly and came out best in a head-bobbing finish by a nose.
A first-time visor seemed to do the trick for Tom McCourt's mare Inishmot Duchess (8-1), who forged clear in the final furlong in the hands of Ian Brennan to win the first division of the Floodlit Friday Nights At Dundalk Handicap by a length and a quarter.
The second division went to James Lambe's veteran Richelieu (9-2), who hadn't won since the same race last season but has been sliding down the handicap and surged down the outside to grab a half-length verdict under Chris Hayes.
Joanna Morgan's Balmont Flyer (evens favourite) was the most impressive winner of the night, the rapidly improving five-year-old scooting clear under Pat Smullen to take the second division of the Crowne Plaza Leading Jockey & Trainer Championship Handicap by three lengths.
Shane Foley hit the front a furlong out on Saratoga Baby in the Dundalk Stadium Light Up Your Night Rated Race and Peter Fahey's 5-1 shot ran on resolutely to hold Mountrath by half a length.