'Westener' can score on debut for JP
The Westener Boy, a runaway point-to-point and Fairyhouse bumper winner, should take plenty beating on its first start for JP McManus and Colm Murphy at Gowran Park tomorrow.
Mark Walsh's mount tackles 19 others in the opening maiden hurdle, though it is a race that lacks any real strength in depth.
Forty Foot Tom, a 114-rated handicapper, is potentially the nap selection's biggest threat, but it will be disappointing if the former Mags Mullins-trained nominee can't account for him and justify his purchase by the champion owner.
Willie Austin's Dukes Mutiny is fancied to exploit a low-weight in the only other hurdle race on the mixed card, while the hat-trick seeking Chrysanthemum is difficult to oppose in the featured Irish Stallion Farms Victor McCalmont Memorial Stakes.
A nine-furlong Listed race that was won in 2011 by Banimpire -- subsequently sold for no less than €2.3m -- the €60,000 contest features just two 100-plus rated runners.
David Wachman's four-year-old is one of those, the other being Dermot Weld's Zaminast, which trailed in a disappointing fifth behind Chrysanthemum on her reappearance at the Curragh last month.
Off 2lb worse terms now, Zaminast has it all to do if she is to turn around an 11-length defeat.
Chrysanthemum, on the other hand, is atoning for last year's fruitless campaign in grand style, with two authoritative victories to her name from her only two starts this term.
Remarkably, this will be the first time in her seven-race career that she has run anywhere other than headquarters, but that shouldn't matter in testing conditions that she enjoys.
Another that thrives in the mud is Park Ranger. Christy Roche's six-year-old hosed up in heavy ground at Listowel in the autumn, the third time that he has scored in slow going.
Tomorrow, he is on duty in a competitive mile handicap, but he will strip fitter for finishing sixth on first Flat start of the year behind Ansaab at the Curragh, a run that prompted the handicapper to generously drop him 3lb.
That leaves him just 3lb higher than when he obliged in a canter at Listowel, so he should go close for Fran Berry.
In the three-year-old equivalent, Danequest, placed behind the in-form Brog Deas on his last two starts, can score for Austin Leahy and Shane Foley.
On tomorrow's all-jumping programme at Sligo, Willie Mullins looks to have a particularly potent delegation.
The multiple champion trainer saddles five at the western venue, all of which have some sort of chance.
Local Celebrity, Dr Machini and Sizing Tennessee can make the foray pay.
Having readily won a bumper and maiden hurdle on his last two completed starts, Local Celebrity should account for his Ruby Walsh-ridden stable-mate Tango Banbou under the trainer's son Patrick in the conditions race.
The same combination are going to take some stopping with Sizing Tennessee, fourth at Fairyhouse first time, in the bumper, while the 'Sizing' colours could also make their way to the winner's enclosure via Dr Machini.
Fifth in a Listed mares' race at Aintree, the Alan Potts-owned five-year-old appears to be the clear standard-bearer under Andrew Lynch in the Guinness Mares' Maiden Hurdle.