Stable companions Douvan and Min are among 11 possible runners in this weekend’s TheTote.com Fortria Chase at Navan.
Douvan was unbeaten in his first 13 starts for Willie Mullins – a run that included back-to-back triumphs at the Cheltenham Festival in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and the Arkle Trophy.
However, he suffered injury and a shock defeat in the 2017 Queen Mother Champion Chase – and various problems have restricted him to just two competitive appearances since, most recently chasing home stablemate Un De Sceaux at the Punchestown Festival in April of last year.
Min – who like Douvan carries the colours of Rich and Susannah Ricci – won two Grade Ones last season, and was particularly impressive in the Melling Chase at Aintree in early April.
He too found Un De Sceaux too strong in the Champion Chase at Punchestown at the end of April.
Mullins has also entered last season’s Arkle hero Duc Des Genievres and Great Field on Sunday.
Last year’s winner Ballyoisin is in contention to defend his crown for Enda Bolger, while Henry de Bromhead has Cheltenham Festival winner A Plus Tard and Ordinary World.
The potential field is completed by Gordon Elliott’s trio of Doctor Phoenix, Duca De Thaix and Hardline and Terence O’Brien’s stable star Articulum.
Elliott’s brilliant mare Apple’s Jade will face a maximum of six rivals when she bids for a third straight victory in the Grade Two Lismullen Hurdle.
The 10-time Grade One winner has taken this prize in each of the last two seasons en route to winning the Hatton’s Grace at Fairyhouse, and Elliott has already confirmed his intention for her to pursue the same early campaign.
The Mullins-trained Bacardys appears her main threat on ratings, ahead of Margaret Flynn’s Doctor Mikey and Rhinestone from Joseph O’Brien’s yard.
Grade Three honours are up for grabs in the For Auction Novice Hurdle.
Among the 12 possible runners in this two-mile contest are Elliott’s pair of Abacadabras and Mount Ida, Mullins’ Fast Buck, Paul Nolan’s Latest Exhibition and Sixshooter – trained by Noel Meade.
There is plenty of interest on the undercard, with Andy Dufresne (Elliott) Blackbow (Mullins) and Colreevy (Mullins) all engaged for the P.S. Supplies Doors & Floors Maiden Hurdle – while the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Beginners Chase features Bapaume (Mullins) and dual Champion Hurdle runner-up Melon (Mullins).