El Salvador and Joseph O'Brien
©Healy Racing Photos
Champion jockey Joseph O'Brien has been trying for a while to get off the mark for 2013 and he finally did it when El Salvador ran away with the Bookings At dundalkstadium.com Maiden under the all-weather track's lights.
The young jockey led all the way from his number one draw and was never troubled, stretching clear down the straight to score by four and a half lengths on his 20th ride of the year.
The result also got the Ballydoyle bandwagon rolling as the four-year-old (5-4 favourite), placed in both his runs last season, is trained by his father Aidan.
John Egan saddled his first winner as a trainer when Salam Alaykum took the Crowne Plaza Leading Jockey & Trainer Championship Handicap, with the handler also doing the steering.
Egan hurried the 9-2 shot across from a wide draw and established a prominent position before leading in the straight and holding off all-comers to score by half a length from the unlucky Denny Crane.
Sacred Dragon on his debut last month and he ran a promising race to finish second to an experienced rival, so it was no surprise to see him go one better in the Floodlit Friday Nights At Dundalk Maiden.
There was plenty of confidence behind
Jim Ryan's three-year-old (2-5 favourite) took a while to get past Super Sling in the straight, and then had to pull out the stops under Kevin Manning to hold newcomer Mazandaran by a neck.
Teenager Robbie Downey rode his first winner on his third ride when Eddie Lynam's 16-1 shot Atticus Finch landed the Crowne Plaza Hotel Race & Stay Handicap, leading a quarter of a mile out and holding Golden Shoe by a length and a quarter.
It completed a double for the yard as Wayne Lordan took the www.dundalkstadium.com Rated Race on 9-2 shot Khyber Pass, who saw off the front-running Jouster by a length with favourite Ahimsa, who suffered a rough passage under Joseph O'Brien, pulled up.