Mengli Khan and Voix Du Reve feature among 11 horses confirmed for the Racing Post Novice Chase at Leopardstown.
The two-mile-one-furlong contest is the Grade One feature on St Stephen’s Day and another mouth-watering renewal looks in prospect.
Having finished third in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March, Gordon Elliott’s Mengli Khan made an impressive start to his chasing career at Punchestown and he is set to step up in class over the festive period.
Elliott has also left in Duca De Thaix and Hardline.
The Willie Mullins-trained Voix Du Reve did not scale the same heights over hurdles as Mengli Khan, but was thoroughly impressive on his fencing bow at Galway and followed up in the Grade Two Craddockstown Novice Chase at Punchestown.
Other contenders include Joseph O’Brien’s Drinmore runner-up Le Richebourg and Aidan Howard’s stable star Winter Escape.
The main supporting race on the first of four days at Leopardstown is the Knight Frank Juvenile Hurdle.
Elliott’s pair of Chief Justice and Coeur Sublime are likely to renew rivalry after finishing first and second in a Grade Three at Fairyhouse at the start of the month and could be joined by three other stablemates in Coko Beach, Flat To The Max and Smiling Eliza.
Mullins has La Sorelita and Maze Runner in the mix, with Jessica Harrington’s Punchestown scorer Got Trumped also entered.
The Paddy’s Rewards Club “Sugar Paddy” Chase is the centrepiece the following afternoon.
Mullins has claimed this prize twice in the last four years with Twinlight (2014) and Douvan (2016), while Min passed the post in front last season before the stewards promoted the Nicky Richards-trained Simply Ned to the number one spot.
The champion trainer has a strong hand once again with Footpad and Great Field confirmed. Both horses fell on their respective seasonal reappearances.
Pat Fahy’s Castlegrace Paddy profited from Great Field’s fall when winning the Hilly Way Chase at Cork and could take him on again.
Simply Ned is set to defend his crown, while Ballyoisin is a major player for Enda Bolger after completing a four-timer in the Fortria Chase at Navan on his latest outing.
The other Grade One on December 27 is the Paddy Power Future Champions Novice Hurdle.
Mullins has won the last three runnings of this two-mile heat and has four possible runners in Aramon, Prince D’Aubrelle, Tornado Flyer and Sancta Simona.
Lone Wolf is one of three Joseph O’Brien-trained contenders, while Elliott’s six-strong team includes Commander Of Fleet.
Noel Meade’s impressive Troytown winner Tout Est Permis heads the weights for the 110,000 euro Paddy Power Chase, with a total of 48 horses standing their ground.