Mouse Morris fears War Of Attrition will find it tough going in the expected testing conditions for the Punchestown Guinness Gold Cup tomorrow.
The 10-year-old took this Grade One prize at the Punchestown Festival in 2006 following his victory in the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
However, the ground was good that day and Morris is not confident of a repeat success.
“He’s grand but the ground has gone for him. It’s going to be heavy up there tomorrow, I’d say,” said the County Tipperary trainer.
The Michael O’Leary-owned gelding has not run since chasing home Exotic Dancer in the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown over Christmas, with slight setbacks preventing him from running in the Gold Cup and the John Smith’s Grand National.
“He’s in good fettle and has got over those problems now,” Morris went on.
“It was good ground when he won this race before. I suppose it’s the same for them all and if you’re not in it, you can’t win.”
Dessie Hughes is also worried about the going for Schindlers Hunt, who would be tackling three miles and a furlong for the first time.
The nine-year-old has smart form at shorter distances and was a fine second to Voy Por Ustedes in the John Smith’s Melling Chase over two and a half miles at Aintree on his latest start.
“He’s been in great form since Aintree but the ground will have gone for him,” said the County Kildare trainer.
“I don’t think we’ll learn that much about the distance for him if the ground is heavy. We’ll see what conditions are like tomorrow.”
Nigel Twiston-Davies believes the cut in the ground will not bother Imperial Commander, who showed his class with victory over Voy Por Ustedes in the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham last month.
“He’s travelled out there and he’s in good form,” said the Naunton trainer.
“The ground doesn’t worry him and the trip won’t either.
“It was a smashing win at Cheltenham and let’s hope we have another one tomorrow.”
Charlie Mann is also not concerned about the ground for Air Force One, who won over the course and distance at this meeting 12 months ago.
“He went out there yesterday and had a canter round the course today. He’s in good form and the ground should be all right for him,” said the Upper Lambourn trainer.
“It will go against more horses than us. We can handle soft ground. There are a few two-and-a-half mile horses in there who might not get the trip.
“He’s in good order, we’ve got nowhere else to go and he won there last year.”
Ruby Walsh feels his mount Scotsirish has each-way claims in an open contest.
“It’s a wide-open competitive race, he’ll be a good price and a decent each-way bet,” said the Irish jockey.
“Imperial Commander steps up to three miles having won the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham and Notre Pere was second to Neptune Collonges in the Irish Hennessy which is good form. But it’s an open race.”