Conor O’Dwyer is worried the drying ground and a drop in trip might not be ideal for Southern Vic in the Dr P.J Moriarty Novice Chase at Leopardstown on Sunday.
With trainer Ted Walsh’s son Ruby still sidelined, O’Dwyer keeps the ride on the exciting young novice chaser after partnering the seven-year-old to victory over three miles on soft ground at Naas three weeks ago.
This weekend’s Grade One contest, for which 11 have been declared, is three furlongs shorter.
“It’s just a pity the ground is drying up a bit for him and two miles five might not suit him as much as the longer trip, but I’m looking forward to it and he’s a very nice novice,” said O’Dwyer.
“The ground was testing at Naas and he didn’t have any problem so this trip might be on the sharp side with it drying up. I’m hoping for the best.”
In contrast, Our Ben goes back up in distance after winning over two miles and a furlong at Fairyhouse three weeks ago.
“He has been very good since Fairyhouse and schooled well the other day,” said Mullins.
“The trip at Fairyhouse would have been shorter than ideal but the timing of the race fitted in well.
“He ran very well on good ground in Cheltenham last year and he has won on soft ground but I do think that drier ground would be to his benefit.
“This is a big race in its own right, it is a Grade One and he will be off to Cheltenham after it.”
Mullins also saddles Major Vernon, while Michael Hourigan is also double-handed with Church Island and Kerryhead Windfarm.
Other interesting runners include Paul Nolan’s Kill Devil Hill, Noel Meade’s Father Matt and the Mouse Morris-trained Baily Breeze.