Impaire Et Passe is the star name among seven horses confirmed for the Bar One Racing Hatton’s Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse on Sunday.
The French import is four from four over obstacles since joining Willie Mullins, a record which includes a dominant victory over stablemate Gaelic Warrior in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March.
The five-year-old is rated the biggest threat to the brilliant Constitution Hill by some bookmakers in this season’s Champion Hurdle market and he will be a warm order to make a successful start to his campaign this weekend.
Mullins could also saddle high-class mare Ashroe Diamond, while Gordon Elliott has a quartet of contenders in Beacon Edge, Irish Point, last year’s Hatton’s Grace hero Teahupoo and Zanahiyr.
Paul Gilligan’s recent Cheltenham scorer Buddy One completes the acceptors. The six-year-old faces a rise in class after scoring in handicap company in the Cotswolds two weeks ago, but Gilligan is contemplating rolling the dice.
He said: “We’ll make a decision on Friday morning, hopefully we’ll be going. He’s in super order and has come out of Cheltenham very, very well.
The first of three Grade Ones on a quality card is the Bar One Racing Royal Bond Novice Hurdle, for which nine promising youngster have stood their ground.
An Tobar looks a major player judged on an impressive debut under rules over the course and distance for Henry de Bromhead, who also has the promising Slade Steel.
Mullins has confirmed Bialystok and Horantzau D’airy, his brother Tom looks set to saddle Fascile Mode and Elliott could run Farren Glory, King Of Kingsfield and What’s Up Darling.
Encanto Bruno, trained by Gavin Cromwell, also warrants respect.
Seven go forward for the Bar One Racing Drinmore Novice Chase, including the Mullins-trained pair of I Am Maximus and Sharjah.
I Am Maximus won the Irish Grand National in the spring, but retains his novice status for the time being, as does the top-class hurdler Sharjah, who has made a smooth transition to fences with two comfortable victories.
Elliott has three to choose from, with American Mike, Favori De Champdou and Found A Fifty all engaged, while Cromwell fires a twin assault with Letsbeclearaboutit and Perceval Legallois.