Hi Cloy started evens favourite in 2006 but could only finish a distant fourth behind Newmill.
“He wasn’t right. He hadn’t even been working well at the time, so that’s what we think it probably was,” said Hourigan.
The Be My Native gelding showed what a smart performer he is, however, when winning the Melling Chase at Aintree and finishing a close third to War Of Attrition in the Punchestown Guinness Gold Cup later in the season.
And Hourigan reported the 10-year-old to be in fine shape ahead of today’s race which was re-arranged following the abandonment of the original meeting last Thursday.
“He’s in good form but it looks a tough race,” he added.
Hi Cloy has to give weight to all five of his rivals, including last year’s runner-up Mossy Green.
The 13-year-old was well ahead of his old rival in this race last January but his trainer Willie Mullins believes he faces a stiffer task this time around.
“He’s holding his form well but he’s up against it tomorrow,” said Mullins.
“I think he’ll do well to finish in the first three.”
Last year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup third Forget The Past has his first start over fences this season and trainer Michael O’Brien says he will be all the better for a recent reappearance over hurdles.
“He ran well at Punchestown the other day so we hope he is back to his best,” said O’Brien.
“He was very good in his reappearance because he wasn’t that fit and the young lad (Andrew Lynch) said he blew up twice in the race.
“They went a good gallop all the way so his fitness caught him out a bit in the end but if you watched the race again and stopped the tape 200 yards from the line you would have said he won well, he just tied up,” he said.