Sizing Europe on his way to Gowran Park
IF Listowel wasn't enough proof that the real National Hunt season is about to get into full flow, this weekend's entries for Gowran Park will give you every reassurance.
A select field of nine have been entered for the Grade Two PricewaterhouseCoopers Champion Chase and among them is Cheltenham's Queen Mother Champion Chase hero, Sizing Europe, and Robbie Hennessy's highly regarded Rubi Light. They are rated 177 and 164 respectively.
Also included in the race is former Cheltenham Festival winner, Fordpadydeplasterer, whose trainer, Tom Cooper, will be hoping to get his career back on track after niggling setbacks.
Friday's Inistioge Beginners Chase is also an interesting-looking contest as Mouse Morris holds a couple of quite significant entries for Michael O'Leary's Gigginstown House Stud.
Dual Grade One winning hurdler, First Lieutenant, who was victorious in the Neptune Investments Novices Hurdle at Cheltenham last March, could return to the track at which he won his bumper very impressively.
Morris also made an entry in the race for Rathlin, who was second in a Grade Two novice hurdle last season when trained by Phillip Rothwell, although both are likely to need some degree of rainfall or watering to take place before being allowed to take their chance.