Johnston's unexposed Mister Angry can see off older rivals
The most notable mixed programme of the year at Naas tomorrow boasts a prize fund in excess of €250,000 spread over a splendidly-varied eight races and featuring the Derrinstown Stud Birdcatcher Nursery and the Garnet Stakes for older fillies.
The ongoing quest for the senior and junior titles, which continues at Cork today in the absence of reigning title-holder Johnny Murtagh and pace-setter Pat Smullen, both in action at Newmarket, looks bound to move up a notch at Naas.
For instance, Murtagh has what seems an enviable book of mounts on behalf of David Wachman and Aidan O'Brien at the Kildare venue where Mark Johnston squares up to the local talent in the October Premier Handicap with Ascot winner Mister Angry.
Yorkshire-based Johnston has plundered several similar prizes already this season and the Cape Cross colt Mister Angry is relatively unexposed compared to older rivals further up the weight scale, such as Zaralabad, Capellanus, Natural High and The Pier.
With the ground much less testing than is usual at this time of the year, three-year-olds are less likely to be inconvenienced now and Declan McDonogh may get Johnston's raider home in front of Knight Eagle, La Chassottee and Murtagh's mount Table Mountain.
Whatever the defending champion's fate here, the Meath pilot could take the session's honours with a treble for the Coolmore partners on Latin Love, Compelling and Ruling, whose sire Footstepsinthesand was a well-backed, runaway winner of the opening Tifrums Maiden in 2004.
It may be no coincidence either that Table Mountain's champion handler Aidan O'Brien has chosen to give Ruling his debut in this particular renewal, while David Wachman introduces the beautifully-bred Compelling in the following fillies' version.
The daughter of Kingmambo and fellow Group 1 winner Damson which won here before her Royal Ascot triumph that helped put the stable on the map is better drawn close to the far rail than Sunday's Curragh runner-up Vasitas which sports first-time blinkers.
Compelling's much busier stablemate Emerald Ring which enjoyed a morale-boosting, belated success at Dundalk earlier this month is bound to be prominent in the betting for the Birdcatcher Premier Nursery which Murtagh won for Ger Lyons last year on Beat Surrender.
Tell The Wind and Knock Stars have also taken kindly to Dundalk's all-weather surface and, as the prevailing going won't be very much different on this occasion, the trio could be among those fighting out the finish with marginal preference for Knock Stars.
Latin Love has a summer Curragh victory over year-younger recent Tipperary heroine Emulous to recommend her for the Wachman-Murtagh alliance in the similar Garnet Stakes at Listed level and they should have an edge over Devoted To You.
Fran Berry and Seamie Heffernan, meanwhile, could be the jockeys to follow in Cork this afternoon as they have some attractive bookings such as Heffernan's top weight Air Chief Marshal, which can confirm Tipperary placings with Libano in the featured Navigation Stakes.
Eurhythmic for Heffernan probably meets nothing of the calibre of his Navan conqueror Table Mountain in the Jimmy Crowley Maiden and Cocozza likewise could step up a place on his narrow Curragh debut defeat by Oracle in the finale to double up for Berry, who also has a sporting chance of repeating last year's EBF Fillies Handicap win on Riobamba even if the Halpin family's hat-trick seeker Headford Lady commands the utmost respect.