Gordon Elliott is well represented in his bid to win a first MansionBet “GetItReady” For Cheltenham Leinster National on Sunday.
The 100,000 euro contest is one of the few major handicap chases to so far elude the County Meath trainer, but he has high hopes of opening his account with one of his four runners at Naas this weekend.
The highest-rated of the quartet is Dounikos, the mount of 7lb claimer Kevin Brogan.
Davy Russell partners 2018 Thyestes Chase winner Monbeg Notorious, Gavin Brouder is on board 2018 Irish Grand National hero General Principle and Rachael Blackmore is an interesting jockey booking for French recruit Cheb De Kerviniou.
“They’re all in good form and it’s a great prize at a great track,” said Elliott.
“I thought Cheb De Kerviniou ran very well at Punchestown last time and there could be a nice staying handicap to be won with him.
“General Principle showed signs of coming back to form at Punchestown last time when he was fourth and hopefully he can build on that.
“Monbeg Notorious has been struggling to come back to his best for a while, but he’s had an easy season which could stand to him and Dounikos has only run once this season and has gone well fresh in the past.”
Willie Mullins has saddled Pairofbrowneyes to land the last two renewals of the Leinster National and this year fires a twin assault, with top-weight Chef Des Obeaux joined by his long-absent stable companion Bonbon Au Miel.
Joseph O’Brien has declared Choungaya and Shady Operator for leading owner JP McManus. The famous green and gold silks are also carried by Paul Nolan’s Mon Lino, Philip Dempsey’s The Long Mile, Red Jack from Noel Meade’s yard and Castle Oliver, who has won his last three starts for Padraig Roche.
Roche said: “Castle Oliver seems to be improving the whole time, which is great to see, but he’ll have to improve again to be competitive in Sunday’s race.
“This is another big step forward for him, but I’d be hopeful that the extra half a mile will bring about a bit more improvement again judging by the way he finished out his race at Naas the last day.
“He has gone up 30lb since he started winning, so it won’t be easy, but he goes there in good form and he has a nice light weight on his back.”
Grade Three honours are up for grabs in the Naas Directors Plate Novice Chase, in which Oliver McKiernan will be hopeful Gallant John Joe can make it third time lucky over fences after finishing a creditable third in the Irish Arkle at Leopardstown last month.
Mullins saddles Irish Arkle fifth Royal Rendezvous. Dallas Des Pictons, Dolciano Dici, Halsafari and Ministerforsport complete the six-strong field.
Eight horses have been declared for the Listed Writers Kingsfurze Novice Hurdle, including Meade’s Beacon Edge, O’Brien’s course and distance winner Entoucas, Gearoid O’Loughlin’s Cedarwood Road and Henry de Bromhead’s Le Musigny.