Top-class hurdler Arctic Fire is set to come out of retirement and run in the Kevin McManus Bookmaker Grimes Hurdle at Tipperary on Thursday.
The nine-year-old won five of his 19 starts over jumps for champion trainer Willie Mullins, including the 2015 Hatton’s Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse and the County Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March of last year.
He was also placed in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham, the Punchestown Champion Hurdle and the Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown behind esteemed stable companions Faugheen and Hurricane Fly.
Time was called on Arctic Fire’s career in January due to injury, but owner Nick Peacock has had a change of heart and he is set to make his first appearance for trainer Denis Cullen later this week.
Peacock said: “The story is he was stood in a field looking rather sorry and miserable and because the lameness he had was never fully explained, I decided we’d put him back into training and see how we got on.
“He’s actually got on very well. There’s been no sign of his previous injury and he’s somewhere close to being match fit, if not quite peak fit.
“I didn’t want to bring him back in a handicap, where he’d have to give a lot of weight away, and the race on Thursday looks suitable.
“Obviously the horses’s welfare is paramount and the jockey will be under strict instructions to pull him up if he feels something is amiss.”
Peacock is set to be double-handed in Thursday’s Grade Three contest, with the Mullins-trained Wicklow Brave also an intended runner.
The nine-year-old will revert to jumping after finishing seventh of eight runners in the Yorkshire Cup on his latest appearance.
Wicklow Brave has not won a race since landing the 2017 Punchestown Champion Hurdle, in which Arctic Fire finished third.
Peacock added: “It looks as if Arctic Fire will be joined by Wicklow Brave. Willie is keen to run him and I’m hardly going to say he can’t run.
“He is good and fit. He actually beat Arctic Fire the last time Arctic Fire ran, but he has to give him 11lb on Thursday.
“I will be at Tipperary. If they both run Wicklow Brave will wear the first colours.”