Tornado Flyer and Battleoverdoyen both feature in 44 entries for the Lawlor’s Of Naas Novice Hurdle at Naas on January 6.
Winner of the Pnchestown Champion Bumper, the Willie Mullins-trained Tornado Flyer is likely to spearhead a strong assault on the Grade One feature for the champion trainer.
Mullins has won the race three times since it was upgraded to top-level status and is responsible for 12 of the initial entries, which were revealed on Tuesday.
Also among the Clossuton entries is the highly regarded Annamix, who has yet to make his hurdling debut for Mullins but is already a leading fancy for the Cheltenham Festival in March.
Gordon Elliott won the 2017 renewal with Death Duty and is keen to target contest with the unbeaten Battleoverdoyen, who was most impressive on his hurdling debut at Navan over the weekend.
Elliott said: “The Lawlor’s Of Naas Novice Hurdle comes at an ideal time of year and all being well that is where Battleoverdoyen will go next.
“We were delighted to get him started over hurdles at Navan last weekend. I felt he improved from his bumper and hopefully he can improve again from his maiden hurdle to Naas.”
He added: “We have entered a good few for the race and we’ll see what happens over Christmas before making any definite plans as to what will run with Battleoverdoyen.
“There’s a good chance Defi Bleu could go there. He ran a nice race at Navan and is still learning all the time.
“Commander Of Fleet would also be a possible runner. I was happy with his run in the Royal Bond. We always knew that two miles would be too short for him, but he stayed on really well and I’m looking forward to stepping him out in trip again so the Grade One at Naas could be an ideal race for him.”
Local trainers Oliver McKiernan and Philip Dempsey have entered their recent winners Gallant John Joe and Derrinross, while trainer Pat Fahy has pinpointed Naas as the next race for last weekend’s maiden hurdle winner Dunvegan.
Naas maiden hurdle winner Rhinestone is part of a strong team of entries for in-form trainer Joseph O’Brien.
Racecourse manager Tom Ryan said: “I think you could be forgiven for thinking that this year’s renewal of the Lawlor’s Of Naas Novice Hurdle could be the most competitive yet.
“We are delighted with both the quantity and quality of the entries for the race.
“At a busy time of year in the National Hunt calendar it has been very encouraging to read comments from a lot of trainers planning on heading for the Lawlor’s Of Naas Novice Hurdle and we are counting down to our biggest fixture of the year.”