Menelik (blue cap)
©Healy Racing Photos
By Thomas Weekes
Menelik was the narrow winner of the opening Dundalk Stadium Claiming Race at Dundalk today and the eight-times winner subsequently avoided being claimed, much to the relief of his trainer Des Donovan.
The son of Oasis Dream had the perfect inside drawn in one, which helped him make all the running and hold the challenge of Rivellino close home, for a head success.
Afterwards Donovan stated “it took all of Pat Smullen to get him home there! He was third at Chelmsford the last time over five and we probably should have made it on him.
“He did it well there tonight and I'd say if we had been drawn anywhere else, we could have been in trouble but Pat gave him a cracking ride. I think he's better over five but Pat said he stuck his head back out there tonight over the six.”
Donovan was awaiting the result of the subsequent Claiming process when adding “I don't know if he'll get claimed but if he doesn’t, he'll be back here next week over five for a handicap.
“You just have to hope for the best and with these kind of races you never know what will happen.”
Donovan’s prayers were later answered as the only claim in the race was for the Andy Oliver trained, third-placed Time Stands Still was was picked up for E5,000 by Willie Martin.
Quotes from Gary Carson