There have been a few hotpots turned over already this National Hunt season but it’s hard to see El Fabiolo suffering defeat in the Hilly Way Chase at Cork on Sunday.
Willie Mullins’ charge looks in a different league to his rivals in the Grade Two two-miler and it’s a nice starting point for the exciting Spanish Moon gelding.
The six-year-old had a brilliant unbeaten novice campaign last season and really blossomed over the larger obstacles.
His comprehensive defeat of Jonbon in the Arkle at Cheltenham was his best performance of the season and marked him out as the top novice at two miles.
He is already an even-money shot to step up and claim the Champion Chase crown at Cheltenham in March and it would be a major upset if he couldn’t make a winning return.
With stablemate Energumene ruled out for the season this division looks at the mercy of El Fabiolo.
Next best on official ratings in tomorrow’s contest is Vanillier, with a 20lb lower mark, and he needs a good bit further than this.
Fil Dor could be the one to chase him home but El Fabiolo should prove another class to these rivals.
Mullins can bag a few winners on the card.
It’s interesting to see Zenta make her debut over fences in Grade Two company in the preceding mares’ novice chase.
The French-import was a Grade One winner over timber at Aintree last season after a fine run to finish third in the Triumph Hurdle previously.
She is a classy prospect and getting a bit of weight from her elders is a nice plus in the five-runner race.
Mullins saddles three of the five but the danger may be the Gordon Elliott-trained Harmonya Maker, who was impressive on her chase debut at Gowran last month.
The form of the Cheltenham bumper last March has been working out particularly well and the seventh-placed horse, Western Diego, makes his hurdling debut in the two mile maiden.
He was a free-going sort in bumpers and hurdles may make him back off a bit now.
The Grade Three novice contest over three miles looks like an interesting little heat and Mahon’s Way gets the vote for Henry de Bromhead.
He cost £360,000 after an impressive point-to-point win last year and showed promise on his sole bumper run in March.
Going jumping was always going to be more up his street and he impressed on his hurdling debut at Naas last month.
De Bromhead spoke highly of him after that victory and he looks the type to really excel over this kind of distance.
12.45 Western Diego
1.15 Mahon’s Way (Nap)
1.45 Zenta (Dbl)
2.15 El Fabiolo
2.45 Ricky Bobby
3.15 Magic Conqueror