Andy Dufresne will face just three rivals when he puts his unbeaten record on the line in the Navan Novice Hurdle on Sunday.
Bought for £330,000 after winning an Irish point-to-point, the JP McManus-owned five-year-old could not have been more impressive when making a successful debut under Rules in a Down Royal bumper in late January.
Gordon Elliott’s inmate was not seen again until making a foot perfect start to his hurdling career over this course and distance last month – and he will be a hot favourite to follow up at Grade Two level on Sunday.
Elliott also saddles recent Fairyhouse scorer Conflated, while Paul Nolan’s Latest Exhibition arguably sets the standard, having filled the runner-up spot behind the Elliott-trained Abacadabras in the For Auction Novice Hurdle at this venue last time.
Sixshooter from Noel Meade’s yard completes the quartet.
Elliott is responsible for four of the 16 runners in the 50,000 euro Tara Handicap Hurdle, with Cracking Smart, Mengli Khan, Count Simon and Present In Court all declared.
His great rival Willie Mullins has Dolciano Dici and Sayo in the mix, with Joseph O’Brien’s Top Moon, the Denis Hogan-trained Moskovite and Keith Clarke’s pair of Dom Dolo and Barwell also featuring.
The Mullins-trained Blackbow will likely be a hot favourite for the opening Irish Stallion Owners EBF Maiden Hurdle.
The high-class bumper performer was touched off by Embittered when odds-on for his hurdling debut at Naas last month – and will be well fancied to recoup those losses.
Four previous bumper winners will do battle in the concluding “Future Champions” INH Flat Race, with Ted Walsh’s Dewcup, Elliott’s pair of Pencilfulloflead and Fantasio D’alene and O’Brien’s Uhtred among seven runners declared for the Listed contest.