Rising star Envoi Allen heads a final field of six in Sunday’s Sky Bet Killiney Novice Chase at Punchestown (12.50).
The unbeaten seven-year-old has yet to taste defeat in his 10-race career and is two from two over fences this season following a faultless start to a novice chasing campaign.
A winner of the Grade One BARONERACING.com Drinmore Novice Chase at Fairyhouse when last seen in November, Gordon Elliott’s charge bids to keep his winning sequence going in this Grade Three event in the hands of Jack Kennedy.
It might be a drop in class for the Cheveley Park-owned horse, but the opposition looks strong and is headed by Willie Mullins’ Grade One-winning novice hurdler Asterion Forlonge.
Running in the same now famous black and yellow check Joe Donnelly colours of Gold Cup hero Al Boum Photo, Asterion Forlonge won on his chasing debut at this track before falling in the Grade One Faugheen Novice Chase at Limerick over Christmas.
Dinny Lacey, Fils D’oudairies, Ounitive and Sempo complete the field.
The Donnelly colours are also on show with eight set to go to post in the Grade Two Sky Bet Moscow Flyer Hurdle at 1.20 with Mullins’ Ganapathi bidding to build on his stable debut victory at Cork on November 22.
Mullins has an exceptional record in this event and won it in four consecutive years from 2013 to 2016, with Cheltenham Festival heroes Vautour, Douvan and Min winning three of those races.
The last two years the prize has gone to Elliott and he’s represented by the JP McManus-owned Magic Tricks on Sunday, a horse that won his maiden hurdle by eight-and-a-half lengths at Navan last time out.
Both of those horses will have to raise their game to beat Master McShee, though, the form pick in this after winning a Leopardstown handicap hurdle by five lengths off a mark of 132 over the festive season.
Now rated 143, Paddy Corkery’s seven-year-old sets the standard in a race that has historically had a significant bearing on the Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
Sunday’s seven-race card at Punchestown also showcases the Sporting Life Beginners Chase over the extended 2m6f at 2.50.
Won in 2018 by Elliott’s Goodthynemilan, the County Meath handler could well have the answer again this year with his Gigginstown-owned Hell On Earth setting the standard following a good second to Itsalonglongroad at Tramore on January 1.
Paul Cawley takes 7lb off the Germany gelding, who faces 14 rivals in the contest.