Willie Mullins' Arvika Ligeonniere heads a field of just four in tomorrow's Boylesports Tied Cottage Chase at Punchestown.
Such a paltry turnout for a €40,000 Grade Two is disappointing, though it certainly has the potential to be interesting if each of the quartet turns up.
Bryan Cooper has opted for Toner D'Oudairies over Rathlin, with Henry de Bromhead bidding for a hat-trick with Special Tiara following Sizing Europe's triumphs in 2012 and 2013.
Third behind Kid Cassidy and Sire De Grugy when last seen at Cheltenham in November, the Aintree Grade One winner is unlikely to be suited by the prevailing heavy ground. He was well held behind Arvika Ligeonniere in similar conditions in the spring, and it will be a surprise if Ruby Walsh's mount doesn't collect again here.
A respectable third behind Benefficient and Hidden Cyclone at Leopardstown over Christmas when connections experimented with dropping him in, the clean-jumping force of nature will be much happier back on a right-handed track. As a four-time Grade One winner, he is the class horse in the race, so he will be hard stopped.
The same all-conquering axis also gets the nod to secure the day's nap with Wicklow Brave in the Listed novices' hurdle over two miles.
This is an intriguing little contest, with Dessie Hughes' Lieutenant Colonel a live threat, having won in the style of a progressive young hurdle at Fairyhouse after previously being well held in second by the highly-regarded Vautour at Navan.
However, Wicklow Brave's form looks that bit more solid, with Synchronicity, readily held in second when he recorded a stylish win at Cork last month, obliging at Thurles on Thursday.
When Mullins' five-year-old completed a bumper hat-trick at Tipperary in October, he saw off Western Boy, another extremely useful individual that gave Vautour a bit of a fright at Punchestown three weeks ago.
That is a line of form that reflects well on Wicklow Brave, so with Ruby Walsh up for the first time he is trusted to plunder a fifth win in a row.
The champion trainer's relentless juggernaut could also take the bumper with Bosman Rule, though his Pink Hat – which is the mount of son Patrick – is passed over in favour of the Noel Meade-trained Chancol in the opening maiden hurdle over two and a half furlongs.
Fourth behind Western Boy in a St Stephen's Day maiden that has since thrown up a couple of impressive winners, Chancol fell early on his subsequent outing at Navan, where he had looked the part when landing a bumper in December.
If none the worse for that spill, Paul Carberry's mount should be good enough in this company.
Later on, Peter Maher's Big Shu will make his reappearance under top-weight in the Glenfarclas PP Hogan Memorial banks race without the services of Barry Cash, who partnered him to a famous double at Cheltenham and Punchestown last spring. Cash, however, is aboard outsider Duers instead, although the one to keep on side is Enda Bolger's Love Rory.
Successful over course and distance in November under Adrian Heskin – who is currently sidelined with a broken hand – the progressive six-year-old has the assistance of Nina Carberry this time. He has the scope to score again now.