Ronan McNally’s prolific winner Dreal Deal returns to action following a mid-season break in the Fairyhouse Racing From Home Webpage Hurdle on Tuesday.
Winless in his first 11 races, he has triumphed in his last five outings, scoring three times over hurdles and twice on the Flat.
McNally fancies a crack at Grade One company at the Dublin Racing Festival next month, which underlines the six-year-old’s progress from a mark of 84 to his current perch of 141.
“We’d planned to give him a break after he won five in a row, which is why he hasn’t run for a while,” said McNally.
“We’re looking forward to getting him going again and his main target is the Dublin Racing Festival for one of the novice events.
“Hopefully this acts as a nice stepping stone and he runs well, but he’s up against some nice horses and ours is still only a novice.
“If we get a nice clear round and get set up for the Dublin Festival, I’ll be happy enough.
“There are two Grade One novices at Leopardstown for him over two miles and two-six and I’ll probably try to avoid Appreciate It if I can, so we’ll see what the plan is.”
Paul Townend rides Dreal Deal while David Mullins rides Willie Mullins’ Low Sun.
Jessica Harrington’s Sizing Pottsie returns to hurdles having earned a rating of 157 over fences, with Gordon Elliott’s highly-regarded Percy Warner is another fascinating contender.
“I was delighted with his first run over hurdles in a maiden at Navan last month when he beat what looks a very smart horse of Noel Meade’s (Flanking Maneuver),” Elliott told Betfair.
“I was hoping he could give a good account of himself going to Navan, but I expected him to improve for that run, so the fact he won nicely would suggest he is a horse with plenty of potential for the rest of the season.
“He lacks the experience of his rivals who are all quite smart in their own right, so it will be interesting to see where he fits in, but with a shortage of alternatives he has to take his chance here. All things considered, I’m expecting a good showing from him.”