Un De Sceaux will aim to repeat his Cheltenham triumph when he lines up as favourite in the Champion Chase on day one at the Punchestown Festival.
Willie Mullins’ nine-year-old won the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham last month and will again have Ruby Walsh on board on Tuesday at 18:40 BST.
Gordon Elliott, Mullins’ big training rival in Ireland, is represented by Realt Mor and The Game Changer.
However, Un De Sceaux’s main challenger could be Colin Tizzard’s Fox Norton.
Mullins also runs Ballycasey, who won the Grade Two Normans Grove Chase at Fairyhouse earlier this month.
Mullins optimistic about Un De Sceaux chances
“I thought he [Un De Sceaux] won well at Cheltenham and dropping back to two miles shouldn’t be any problem for him,” said Mullins.
“We would prefer some ease in it, but I don’t think better ground is a huge issue.”
Completing the home contenders is the Jessica Harrington-trained Rock The World, who steps up in grade after winning the Grand Annual Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.
The Tom George-trained God’s Own will aim to retain his crown and will be accompanied by stablemate Sir Valentino, who maintained his improvement when third in the Champion Chase.
Disko, who lowered the colours of last week’s Irish Grand National hero Our Duke at Leopardstown in February, tops seven runners in the Champion Novice Chase.
Third to Yorkhill in the Novice Chase at Cheltenham on his only subsequent start, the six-year-old is one of two entries from the Noel Meade stable along with A Genie In Abottle.
Facing the Meade duo are A Toi Phil, Acapella Bourgeois, Alpha Des Obeaux, Anibale Fly and Velocity Boy.
The Punchestown Festival will continue through to Saturday.