Big guns hold sway in Hennessy
Flemenstar and Sir Des Champs are the star names among eight confirmations for what promises to be a fantastic renewal of the Hennessy Gold Cup at Leopardstown on Saturday.
Peter Casey's Flemenstar is set for his second appearance over the three-mile trip, having been caught close home by Tidal Bay and First Lieutenant in the Lexus Chase over Saturday's course and distance on December 28.
The eight-year-old holds entries in the Queen Mother Champion Chase, the Ryanair Chase and the Gold Cup at next month's Cheltenham Festival.
Flemenstar is reported in top form by Francis Casey, the trainer's son and assistant.
He said: "He did a terrific bit of work last week. Andrew Lynch (jockey) said afterwards that he has never worked as well.
"He has been in great form since and we'll take him over to The Old Vic at The Curragh to do another bit and that should leave him spot-on for Saturday."
The Willie Mullins-trained Sir Des Champs was a fast-finishing fourth in the Lexus, following an indifferent round of jumping, and will attempt to enhance his own Gold Cup claims.
The champion trainer could also saddle last year's Hennessy hero Quel Esprit, who has not been seen since running down the field in France last May.
Sir Des Champs' owners, Gigginstown House Stud, also have the Tony Martin-trained Bog Warrior in the mix.
Mouse Morris is set to saddle China Rock after he ran well for a long way in the Lexus on his belated seasonal return. Paul Nolan's Joncol, the Gordon Elliott-trained Roi Du Mee and Ted Walsh's Seabass complete the entries, but the latter has been declared to run over hurdles at Fairyhouse on Tuesday.