The ever-reliable partnership of Tommy Stack and Wayne Lordan can get proceedings under way with a win at Dundalk tonight courtesy of Unchanged.
Of those with published ratings in the seven-furlong maiden, Jessica Harrington's Period Piece and Mick Halford's Blue Fragrance are the ones to beat, with Period Peace possibly the one of those two with the most scope to improve.
However, Unchanged also has plenty going for him, most notably this drop back to seven after failing to quite see it out when third here over a mile a fortnight ago.
On that occasion, Lordan's mount looked at his most dangerous before they hit the furlong pole, but he simply didn't find enough. Unchanged had previously kept on well to be a close third to Hat Alnasar on his debut over seven, so he can justify the nap vote if he runs to a similar level now.
Lordan has another decent spin in the three-year-olds' mile handicap aboard Denise Foster's Lily's Rainbow, which he won on here in December. The daughter of Intikhab is going the right way, but she is passed over in favour of the Ado McGuinness-trained Liffey View.
An emphatic winner of a competitive race here over seven in October, this Arcano filly is just five pounds higher now, having shown the effects of a long season with a subsequent Leopardstown no-show. That was her ninth outing as a juvenile, and her overall profile points to a pretty useful filly that will pay her way this year, so she is fancied to return freshened up now for Declan McDonogh.
In the mile conditions race, course specialist The Dancing Lord can score for a sixth time for John Geoghegan. Since joining the Maynooth handler a year ago, the Imperial Dancer six-year-old has won once at Leopardstown and four times on the all-weather in Co Louth.
He scored off 75 here in January and was just held when third off 78 next time, prompting a ratings hike to a mark of 80. If that is justified, he is the one to beat under the decent five-pound claimer Robbie Downey. Gary Halpin is another excellent apprentice claiming the same allowance, and he can take the finale on Patrick Prendergast's Windward Passage.
Successful at Down Royal in July before running well in defeat when third at Killarney off 83, Windward Passage didn't run his race on his final outing at Listowel in September.
If he strips fit enough for his reappearance now, he is the one to beat on ratings in this tight five-runner affair.