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Tough As Nails looks ready to hammer home class

The three-day Easter Festival at Cork Racecourse in Mallow gets under way with a decent Flat card this afternoon.

A Listed six-furlong sprint is the main event, and the lack of a foreign challenger among the 12 runners means that the €26,000 prize that went for export via Inxile in 2011 is guaranteed to stay at home this time.

It promises to be a cracking contest, with Curragh winner Croisultan joined by recent Dundalk scorers Farmleigh House, Marvada and Timeless Call.

Preferred, though, is the three-year-old Tough As Nails, which performed admirably in the very best company as a juvenile for Michael Mulvany.

Partnered for a first time here by Declan McDonogh, the grey colt could prove a class apart if he is ready for duty.

Croisultan's trainer Dermot Weld has many chances throughout the programme.

In the 10-furlong handicap, his Malayan Mist is fancied to take advantage of a 10lb turnaround at the weights with his Leopardstown conqueror Robin Hood, while Speaking Of Which is napped in the concluding maiden.

On its Curragh bow under Pat Smullen a fortnight ago, the Invincible Spirit colt ran around a little when the pressure came on, but he kept going well to finish second to Amira's Prince.

Provided he has learnt from the experience, he is a likeable sort that should be good enough to account for Jim Bolger's Dynamite Dixie, a runner-up at Leopardstown last week.

Earlier, Jessica Harrington and Fran Berry can land the three-year-old maiden with the consistent Absolute Crackers.

At tomorrow's jumps fixture, the Grade Three Imperial Call Chase, which Harrington has won twice in the last three years, has attracted just four runners.

It is an inconceivably poor renewal, and the top-rated Give Us A Hand, a 10-year-old that boasts only a Sligo beginners' chase to his name already, will never get a better opportunity to win a graded race.

Scratch that -- John Berry's charge might never get a better opportunity to win any sort of race!

On the supporting card, Shake The Bucket is interesting on his return to hurdling.

A Tramore winner last summer, the Madden family representative notched up a hat-trick at Dundalk in the off-season, so a first-time mark of 114 in the Munster Waste Management Hurdle may not be prohibitive.

Irish Independent