Berry to strike on Park Ranger
Tipperary's seasonal schedule of Thursday evening fixtures kicks off today with a decent quality seven-race Flat card.
The nine-furlong 0-85 handicap looks the most interesting contest on the card. A field of 13 has been declared, including Parlour, a once-raced maiden winner for Dermot Weld at Galway last summer.
Picked up for small change at the sales in December, the Dansili filly is now in the care of Ado McGuinness, so it will be fascinating to see how she fares, though it's worth noting that the form of her Ballybrit triumph doesn't amount to much. Park Ranger, which has the benefit of a recent run, may be a more likely winner tonight.
Christy Roche's son of High Chaparral has been frustrating, finishing off 2010 with a head defeat in a maiden hurdle in October, before running out of gas in the shadow of the post on his reappearance at Leopardstown last month.
Nonetheless, Park Ranger deserves the benefit of the doubt, as the five-year-old also improved to win on his second outing on the level last term, and the application of blinkers may help Fran Berry's mount.
Tough As Nails and One Of Three could provide Navan-based Michael Mulvany with his first winners of the campaign in the opening two races.
The Jim Bolger-trained Cheerful Giver will provide stern opposition to Tough As Nails in the five-furlong juvenile event, but recent form reads favourably for the selection.
Although disqualified after passing the post in front at The Curragh on his debut, Tough As Nails finished four lengths clear of Gold Lace. That one beat Cheerful Giver into third next time; if the line translates, Tough As Nails should prevail.
In the Derrinstown Stud Apprentices' Handicap, One Of Three can build on her recent third-place finish at Dundalk, while Anderiego and Justification can take their respective three-year-old maidens.
The former, trained by Weld, has a bad draw in 12, but ran encouragingly when fourth to Sing Softly -- a neck second in the Nell Gwyn Stakes yesterday -- on his reappearance.
Strictly on form, Weld's Notable Graduate ought to beat Justification in the 12-furlong maiden, having finished clear of that one over a mile at Leopardstown in October.
However, Justification, a Montjeu half-brother to former high-class operators over this trip Opera House and Kayf Tara, is taken to score for Aidan and Joseph O'Brien now that he steps up in distance.