Henry de Bromhead is triple-handed in his bid to claim a third successive victory in the Surehaul Mercedes-Benz Novice Hurdle at Clonmel.
The Knockeen-based trainer saddled subsequent Grade One-winning chaser Monalee to claim this Grade Three prize in 2017 before stablemate Chris’s Dream struck gold 12 months ago.
This year De Bromhead’s challenge is headed by Capuccimix, who made an impressive racecourse debut at Clonmel in early January and returns to Powerstown Park as a major contender in the hands of Robbie Power.
He is joined by stable companions Minella Indo (Rachael Blackmore) and Cool Saint (Paul Townend).
De Bromhead said: “All three of them seem to be in good form so we’ll see how they go.
“Capuccimix won well in Clonmel the last day and we’ve been happy with him since.
“Cool Saint won her maiden hurdle in Limerick and looked to be going well when she fell at the last at Thurles last time.
“Minella Indo is still a maiden and we were a bit disappointed with him at Limerick over Christmas. We think he’s better than that.
“It’s getting to that stage of the novice season that we might as well run him in a race like this and see how he goes.”
Willie Mullins claimed this contest on five occasions between 2011 and 2016 and this year relies on the Cheveley Park Stud-owned Allaho.
Runner-up over hurdles at Auteuil last March, the five-year-old was a hot favourite to make a winning start for his new connections in a Leopardstown bumper over the Christmas period – but could only finish fourth.
He steps up a full mile in distance on his return to the jumping game.
Cheveley Park’s managing director, Chris Richardson, said: “I think we’re hoping for an improved performance.
“I believe Willie is very happy with the horse and hopefully we’ll learn a bit more about him.
“If he’s going to go to Cheltenham, we need to put the squeeze on him and find out if he’s good enough.”
Gigginstown House Stud snapped up Eurobot for £105,000 after winning an Irish point-to-point last spring and he made a successful debut for Noel Meade in a Cork maiden hurdle last month.
“He doesn’t show us much at home, to be honest – he’s fairly slow in his work,” said Meade.
“I think he probably wants slower ground – that’s my opinion – but he’s in very good form and we’ll see how we go.”
Moskovite has won her last two races for Denis Hogan and steps up in grade in a bid to boost her potential value as a broodmare.
Hogan said: “I think she’ll love the trip and she’s going there in good form.
“The race has cut up a bit and it looks a good opportunity for her.
“It would be great if she could get a bit of black type. Anything after that would be a bonus.”
Gordon Elliott’s Swordsman, the Peter Croke-trained Vanellope and Western Victory from Colin Bowe’s yard complete the nine-strong field.