Energumene gets the chance to advertise his championship credentials in the Ryanair Novice Chase at Punchestown on Thursday.
The Willie Mullins-trained seven-year-old is one of five declared for the Grade One contest, after a setback forced him to miss a much-anticipated clash with Shishkin in the Arkle Trophy at the Cheltenham Festival.
He was very impressive in the Irish Arkle at Leopardstown in February and renews rivalry with Henry de Bromhead’s Cheltenham third Captain Guinness, who was eight and a half lengths in arrears of Energumene when runner-up at Naas in January.
Mullins also runs Janidil, who was a Grade One winner at Fairyhouse’s Easter meeting.
The other Grade One on the card is the Ladbrokes Champion Stayers Hurdle, with Flooring Porter bidding to record a big festival double having taken the Cheltenham equivalent.
Gavin Cromwell’s six-year-old faces 14 rivals, including Beacon Edge and The Storyteller who were fourth and fourth respectively at Cheltenham. Jonathan Moore is back in the saddle after missing the Cheltenham win due to injury.
Adding further interest is the presence of fellow Cheltenham winners Heaven Help Us (Paul Hennessy) and Mrs Milner (Paul Nolan).
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