Delta Work, Kemboy and Presenting Percy are among nine runners declared for the Paddy Power Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown.
Gordon Elliott’s Delta Work lunged late to land a thrilling Savills Chase over the course and distance last month. The Willie Mullins-trained Kemboy was fourth on what was his seasonal reappearance, with Pat Kelly’s Presenting Percy just behind him in fifth.
Most bookmakers make Kemboy the marginal favourite to come out on top in Sunday’s feature event and provide Mullins with an 11th Irish Gold Cup success. The champion trainer also saddles last year’s winner Bellshill and Cadmium.
Chris’s Dream is an interesting contender for Henry de Bromhead, stepping up in class after dominating his rivals in the Troytown Chase at Navan in late November.
With the 2017 Irish Gold Cup, Cheltenham Gold Cup and Punchestown Gold Cup winner Sizing John ruled out through injury, Jessica Harrington relies on outsider Jett.
The field is completed by Tony Martin’s Anibale Fly and Warren Greatrex’s mare La Bague Au Roi.
Faugheen will face six rivals in the Flogas Novice Chase.
The Mullins-trained 12-year-old provided one of the Christmas highlights when beating Samcro in a Grade One at Limerick – and would undoubtedly bring the house down if he can double his top-level tally over fences this weekend.
He is opposed by three stable companions in Castlebawn West, Easy Game and Tornado Flyer – while Battleoverdoyen is a major contender for Gordon Elliott.
De Bromhead’s pair of Dommage Pour Toi and Myth Buster are the other hopefuls.
With Abacadabras and Envoi Allen both not declared, Elliott relies on Conflated and Easywork in the Chanelle Pharma Novice Hurdle.
In the same race, Mullins is represented by Asterion Forlonge, Mt Leinster and Blue Sari – with De Bromhead’s Jason The Militant and John Ryan’s outsider The Little Yank the only other runners.
All eyes will on De Bromhead’s Aspire Tower in the first of four Grade Ones – the Tattersalls Ireland Spring Juvenile Hurdle.
The high-class Flat performer has made a big impression in winning over hurdles at Punchestown and Leopardstown, and will be a short-priced favourite to complete his hat-trick.
Among his nine rivals are Joseph O’Brien’s pair of A Wave Of The Sea and Cerberus, as well as John McConnell’s Never Do Nothing.
The latter steps up in class after impressing on hurling bow at Musselburgh.
McConnell said: He was bought as a juvenile hurdler and we were delighted to get him with the rating he had (91).
“He was good at Musselburgh. He has to brush up a bit on his jumping, but he’s schooled since and he seems to be improving.
“We’re hopeful. It’s a big step up into a Grade One, but he won’t be disgraced.”