The highly-promising Zero Ten is primed for just his third run over fences at Punchestown this weekend.
Emmet Mullins has confirmed plans for the seven-year-old to take in the Entertain Your Guests At Punchestown Rated Novice Chase on Sunday – en route to higher-profile assignments if he runs well again.
The lightly-raced Zero Ten has won on five of his eight attempts under rules to date, but has run just once in the last six months after injuring himself when winning on his chase debut at Galway last July.
“Fingers crossed, he’ll run (on Sunday),” said Mullins.
“He came out of his race all good the last day – and all being well, I hope he’ll run well.”
Zero Ten was runner-up to Cash Back at Naas in early January, returning from more than five months on the sidelines.
That encouraging performance looks even better after the winner pushed Arkle favourite Notebook so close in the Irish equivalent at Leopardstown on Saturday.
“Exactly – it doesn’t do us any harm, anyway,” Mullins said of the form boost.
“We hope we can keep progressing.
“He picked up an injury in his beginners’ chase in Galway. So we’ve just been slowly looking after him, and getting him back on the road again.”
Zero Ten, a point-to-point winner and successful at up to two and half miles under rules too, is sticking to the minimum trip this weekend – and has not been entered in any of the Grade One novice chases at Cheltenham next month.
Instead, novice showpieces such as the Fairyhouse Gold Cup in April may become enticing at some point.
“That’s it, exactly,” said Mullins.
“There’s plenty of Irish races to pick up with him, I hope, in the spring.
“He’s only had the two runs over fences at the moment – jumped right the last day, so I hope with Punchestown being right-handed he might get a clearer round of jumping.”