Klassical Dream bids to get back on the winning trail in the Matheson Hurdle at Leopardstown on Sunday.
The Willie Mullins-trained five-year-old enjoyed a faultless novice campaign last season, winning each of his four starts including the Supreme at the Cheltenham Festival and a Grade One over this course and distance.
He suffered a surprise defeat when only third behind stablemate Saldier in last month’s Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown, but will nevertheless be a short-priced favourite to provide the champion trainer with a seventh victory in the last 10 renewals.
Mullins is also represented by last year’s winner Sharjah and Aramon, who won the Future Champions Novice Hurdle at this meeting last year.
“Klassical Dream is in good form and Paul (Townend) rides him. I’m happy with him and Sharjah and Aramon are also in good shape,” said the champion trainer.
“The ground should be fine for Sharjah and Aramon and Klassical Dream did win here last year on good ground.”
The biggest threat to the Closutton trio appears to be Gordon Elliott’s Coeur Sublime, who made an impressive start to his season at Down Royal at the start of November.
Elliott said: “Coeur Sublime is in good form and we are looking forward to running him.”
Apple’s Jade was also declared, but she contested the Frank Ward Memorial Hurdle over three miles on Saturday, bouncing back to form to win that race for the third time.
The field is completed by Henry de Bromhead’s Petit Mouchoir and Joseph O’Brien’s Darasso, who reverts to hurdling on his first start since winning a Grade Two chase at Navan in the spring.
The other Grade One on the fourth and final day of the track’s Christmas Festival is the Neville Hotels Novice Chase.
Elliott has won the last two renewals with Shattered Love and Delta Work and this year fires a formidable twin assault, with both Battleoverdoyen and Champagne Classic having won their last two starts.
De Bromhead runs dual Grade One-winning hurdler Minella Indo, who chased home Laurina on his chasing debut at Gowran Park, while Mullins relies on Carefully Selected.
Lord Schnitzel (Matthew Smith), Minella Fair (Noel Meade) and Speak Easy (Joseph O’Brien) all appear to have their work cut out.
Mullins appears to hold all the aces as he bids for a fourth successive win in the Grade Three Advent Insurance Irish EBF Mares Hurdle, saddling four of the nine runners.
Stable jockey Paul Townend has sided with Stormy Ireland over stable companions Eglantine Du Seuil (Rachael Blackmore), Elfile (Robbie Power) and My Sister Sarah (Danny Mullins).