Spirits high in Adjisa camp
Trainer Tim Vaughan is hoping Spirit Of Adjisa's light season will stand him in good stead when he tackles Grade One company at Punchestown on Friday.
The seven-year-old has won his only two starts in the last 12 months and he now takes a big step up in class in the Cathal Ryan Memorial Champion Novice Hurdle.
However, the former Alan King inmate has to his name some good place form behind Oscar Whisky and Finian's Rainbow.
"Obviously we are upping him up massively in grade now but, to be fair, some of his form last season before he joined me was pretty solid," said Vale of Glamorgan-based Vaughan.
"He was second to Oscar Whisky and third to Finian's Rainbow. With what they have gone on to achieve, this horse can't put a foot wrong for me.
"He's jumped, he's galloped and has been impressive in both his runs. We just don't know how good he is. The trip is right but the track is a bit of an unknown.
"He's in magnificent form and he is a fresh horse. He has only had the one run this winter and the plan always was to run either at Aintree or at Punchestown and then have a summer campaign on the Flat.
"Hopefully, he'll run a big race for us. Some of them in this race have had hard seasons and been on the go a long time.
"Our lad hasn't had that, he is super fresh and really well in himself so with any luck he'll put up a bold show."
Willie Mullins is anticipating a good run from So Young, who is proven over the course and distance and who was third to the reopposing First Lieutenant in the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham.
"He ran very well the last time and we're hoping for another good performance," said the County Carlow trainer.
"He's won at Punchestown, so that's a help."
Mullins also runs Gagewell Flyer, who won his first three starts over the winter but has to put behind him two poor efforts at Cheltenham and Fairyhouse.
Mouse Morris is hoping First Lieutenant can confirm Cheltenham form with So Young.
"On paper it looks between our horse and So Young and he seems to have come out of Cheltenham well. I thought we beat that horse fair and square there," said the County Tipperary trainer.
"We'll just have to hope for the best.
"He's had a light campaign but he's a big-framed horse and you never quite know until you run them."