Daryl Jacob is relishing the prospect of being reunited with Footpad in the Ryanair Novice Chase at Punchestown on Thursday.
The Willie Mullins-trained six-year-old has carried all before him over fences so far this season, winning each of his four starts including a hat-trick of Grade One victories.
He was a brilliant winner of the Arkle Trophy at last month’s Cheltenham Festival under Ruby Walsh, but with the leading Irish rider sidelined by injury, Jacob will get back on board Footpad for the first time since steering him to success on his chasing debut at Navan in November.
Jacob, who is the retained rider for owners Simon Munir and Isaac Souede, said: “With Ruby not being available I get the chance to sit on him again and obviously I’m looking forward to it.
“I rode him at the start of the year, so lets hope he rounds off the season in good style.
“He’s very good, he’s a very talented horse, he’s a good jumper and a good traveller.
“He’s uncomplicated and I think he could go all the way to the top.”
Footpad will be a long odds-on favourite to see off six rivals, with title-chasing Mullins also fielding outsiders Saturnas and Asthuria.
The Henry de Bromhead-trained Petit Mouchoir beat Footpad three times over hurdles last season, but the tables have been turned over the larger obstacles, with the Mullins inmate comfortably coming on on top on each of the two occasions they have met.
Castlegrace Paddy is an interesting contender for trainer Pat Fahy.
The seven-year-old is two from two over fences and steps up in grade after impressing in a Listed contest at Thurles last month.
Jockey Andrew Lynch said: “He’s two from two over fences and he’s done nothing wrong.
“You’ve got Footpad and Petit Mouchoir in there and our horse needs to improve a bit, but he’s the unexposed one in the race.
“We don’t how good he is yet. I don’t think the ground should be a problem.”
Dan Skelton’s British challenger Optimus Prime, who has won his last three chase outings, completes the line-up.