Great Minds can foil Byron in Cork mud
Multiple Group One winner Gordon Lord Byron is the star attraction on today's mixed spread at Cork - although jumps enthusiasts would surely argue the case for Salsify.
The 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising will be commemorated with a parade and pageantry at the Mallow venue, but the variety of the fare on-track is a draw in itself.
Racing gets under way with the six-furlong Listed contest that Gordon Lord Byron contests. Tom Hogan's venerable stalwart will be having its first run of the year, while Dermot Weld introduces US import Bobby's Kitten, a Grade One winner at the 2014 Breeders' Cup.
Given the ground will be borderline raceable, both are opposed on this occasion with Great Minds. An out-and-out mudlark, Tommy Stack's six-year-old won this in similar conditions last year, beating the re-opposing Bold Thady Quill, An Saighdiur and Flight Risk.
If Great Minds runs to a similar level now for Wayne Lordan, he could cause a slight upset. In the handicap that follows over the same trip, Bainne gets the nod to record a first win for the new Michael O'Callaghan-Kieren Fallon partnership. A former course winner, Bainne handles a cut, and she won off a mark of 69 at the Curragh last summer. Thereafter, she ran consistently well off marks of 75 and 83. She is back down to a rating of 70 now, which should give her a live chance.
Enter The Red is a dual course winner that is fancied to take a bit of stopping in the five-furlong contest, while in the mares' maiden hunters' chase Graces Island might be the one to keep on side.
Trained by the prolific Wexford point-to-point handler Sean Doyle, Roger Quinlan's mount has progressed to win her last two points. A daughter of Trans Island that has had just four runs, she is relatively unexposed so she has the scope to step up.
Local handler Terence O'Brien might take the geldings' equivalent with Glencarrig Lad. Although an eight-year-old, Glencarrig Lad has likewise won its last two, having been pulled up on its debut in January.
He is a well-bred sort that should be able to make a name for himself at this job at the very least.
A couple of later events could also go the way of the locals, with Rodger Sweeney's dual Foxhunter hero Salsify sure to take plenty of beating under Richie Harding in a poorly contested Jack Tyner Memorial Hunters' Chase.
Robert Tyner, whose late son is commemorated in the above event, can get among the winners in the mares' bumper. The Kinsale handler will saddle Dont Kick Nor Bite, which made a fair impression when fourth on her track bow at Gowran Park.