6-1 WINNER IN SHAMROCK ONE-TWO: Shamrock named first and second in the County Hurdle at Thurles yesterday: Pineau De Re (WON 6-1) and Rigour Back Bob. He’s had naps up at 7-2 and 5-4 this week.

It’s the most intriguing race of the week. And I wouldn’t be a punter if I didn’t rise to the bait and try to solve the swim and catch myself something tasty.

The question marks in the Listed sprint at Dundalk (8.30) are, among others, can English raiders take the prize back after Mick Halford stopped their hat-trick bid last year?

Can horses aged two and three, which make up 10 of the 13 runners today, do what they’ve failed to do in the three runnings of the race so far?

There have been 33 runners in the three years, with the youngsters faring like this: three-year-olds: 7 runners (2nd twice); two-year-olds: 2 runners (nearest 4th)

Had the race been over 6f, I would have fancied Nocturnal Affair, who’s vying with Bannock for favouritism on Betdaq as I write. But will he catch the 5f types?

On time, it must be Balmont Mast: he didn’t break his maiden until the beginning of the month but absolutely flew home over CD a week ago. However, can he hack it from stall 13?

The one-two in the race by draw over the three years has been 2-5, 7-3, 7-2. Srucahan (19.5 on Betdaq this morning) seems to have the plum stall 7, but back-and-lay punters should note that he was 50-1 on before blowing out at the end of a Naas race recently.

Stalls two and three look optimum, and Mayson (in 2) was beaten only in a photo for a Listed at Ascot. Timeless Call is in 3. Breathless Kiss, who goes well on AW, is in 4.

If you have ever doubted that getting a good break is the secret to sprint success, check out Timeless Call at Cork (soon led, beat Balmont Mast and The Reaper) and here at Dundalk (dwelt, only fifth when The Reaper was third).

In the end, what attracts you back to Bannock (stall 1) is that he bounces out of the traps; has been placed in a Group race; and his breeding says he will be just as effective on Polytrack as on turf.

NAP: Bannock (8.30 Dundalk)
NEXT BEST: Ashton Rose (7.10 Dundalk)
LAY: Bawaardi (7.35 Dundalk)
OUTSIDERS: Faleena (8.00 Dundalk), Breathless Kiss (8.30)
DAQ TRIO: Amazing Beauty (6.45 Dundalk), Ashton Rose (7.10 Dundalk), Bannock (8.30 Dundalk)

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