Willie Mullins has a strong hand in his bid for a first victory in the historic Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris on Sunday.
First staged in 1874, the three-mile-six-furlong contest is widely regarded as the most prestigious race run over fences in France – this year carrying a total prize fund of 820,000 euros.
Mullins has come up short in his previous attempts, most recently with the admirable Djakadam 12 months ago.
However, in the year he finally broke his Cheltenham Gold Cup hoodoo with Al Boum Photo and landed an elusive first Irish Grand National success with Burrows Saint, hopes are high that one of his five representatives can strike gold.
Heading the quintet is Burrows Saint, who was a brilliant winner of the Easter Monday feature at Fairyhouse under the now-retired Ruby Walsh. Paul Townend takes over in the saddle this weekend.
Mullins told Sky Sports Racing: “What Burrows Saint did in the Irish National means he’s a really nice horse with huge ability.
“He settles well and jumps well and he’s been around Auteuil before, which is huge.
“It’s a big question to ask him after running in the Irish National, but the prize-money is there and you have to ask the question.
“If he’s recovered from Fairyhouse, and we think he has, he’s probably going to be the best of ours.”
The apparent second string is Rathvinden, who was last seen finishing third behind Tiger Roll in the Grand National at Aintree.
The Mullins squad is completed by Pleasant Company, Acapella Bourgeois and Total Recall.
“We have a lovely team and a lot depends on whether they can handle this track and these fences,” Mullins added.
“Rathvinden’s run in the Aintree National puts him right there, Pleasant Company’s run in the Aintree National puts him right in there, and then you’ve Acapella Bourgeois – I think he has a real big run somewhere in him and he’s improving.
“Total Recall should be an out-and-out stayer. He’s probably not the flashiest jumper, but he gets from A to B.
“It’s a very open Grand Steep this year – I think it’s all to play for.”
The home team includes So French, the winner in 2016 and 2017 but brought down at the first in last year’s renewal.
His trainer Guillaume Macaire, who has saddled a joint-record six previous winners of this event, also runs Le Costaud and Storm Of Saintly.
Le Costaud will be ridden by James Reveley, who has been successful in the last three renewals.
Later in the afternoon, Mullins sends French Made into battle in the Prix Alain du Breil, a race he has won with Diakali (2013) and Footpad (2016).