By Nick Robson
Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott are responsible for nine of the 14 remaining entries in the John Durkan Memorial Chase at Punchestown on Sunday.
Mullins’ team is headed by last year’s winner Min, who was so impressive when slamming Politologue by 20 lengths in the Melling Chase at Aintree.
He was subsequently beaten on his return to two miles at Punchestown by stablemate Un De Sceaux, who also has the option of running in this race but is thought more likely to head to Sandown for the Tingle Creek.
Arkle winner Duc Des Genievres could line up, but he would need to take a big step forward from his first outing of the season when only fourth in the Fortria Chase.
In the same Jared Sullivan colours, Real Steel could take his chance after a very easy win at Down Royal on his return.
Mullins could also run Voix Du Reve, while Elliott’s four consist of Alpha Des Obeaux, Hardline, the mare Shattered Love and The Storyteller.
Gold Cup runner-up Anibale Fly, who went on to run another huge race under top weight in the Grand National to be fifth, could reappear for Tony Martin, but he also holds an option over hurdles at Navan.
“The plan is to do a piece of work with Anibale Fly tomorrow (Wednesday) morning and see how he goes there, but he’s in great form,” said Martin.
He’s working away nicely at home and I think he is ready to run, but we’ll just give him a spin in the morning and go from there.
“He has the option of the John Durkan at Punchestown on Sunday and he ran well over that trip last season so it wouldn’t be a worry starting him there.
“Long term the aim would be to get him back to the Gold Cup or a Grand National and we’ll just see how well he progresses as the season goes on.”
Noel Meade could run Snow Falcon who was a good winner at Gowran in October, but was slightly disappointing behind stablemate Road To Respect at Down Royal.
The lightly-raced Presenting Percy could reappear with owner Philip Reynolds suggesting this race as a target some time ago, while Ruth Jefferson has left in Waiting Patiently, although he has options closer to home this weekend.