Vautour, one of the most visually impressive winners of the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle in recent years, could make his chasing debut over fences at Navan on Sunday.
The Willie Mullins-trained five-year-old is one of 25 entries in the Irish Stallion Farms Beginners Chase.
With owner Rich Ricci having an embarrassment of riches over hurdles this season with the likes of Annie Power and Faugheen staying over the smaller obstacles, Mullins took the bold step to send him over fences.
Given he is already favourite for the Arkle without having jumped a fence in public, it is clear plenty think it already the right call.
Mullins and Ricci won the corresponding race last year with Ballycasey.
Also entered is Pat Fahy’s Western Boy, narrowly beaten by Vautour in a Grade Two novice hurdle last January and not disgraced behind him at Cheltenham.
Eddie Harty’s Minella Foru and Henry de Bromhead’s Viconte du Noyer, third to Gilgamboa on his chasing debut, are others of note.
Richard Lee’s Knock A Hand is the sole British-trained representative among 36 remaining in the Ladbrokes Troytown Chase at Navan on Sunday.
The ante-post favourite is Tony Martin’s Gallant Oscar, a winner over hurdles at Navan earlier this month for Ruby Walsh.
Martin last won the famous handicap in 2007 with Royal County Star.
Gordon Elliott appears to have a very strong hand, having left in top-weight Cause Of Causes, Chicago Grey, Bless the Wings, Plan A, Vasco Du Mee and Balbriggan as he bids to win the race for the first time.
Other notable entries include the likes of He’llberemembered and trainer Paul Fahey said: “He has never won over three miles before, but I don’t think the trip will be a problem for him. He likes it around Navan and he won his bumper there and he has placed in some good handicaps around there.”
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved