Hurricane Fly heads a select field of just four runners for Sunday's Dobbins & Madigans At Punchestown Morgiana Hurdle.
Willie Mullins' charge lost his Champion Hurdle crown at Cheltenham in March but bounced back to winning form at this venue in April. While the champion trainer has not enjoyed an ideal start to the campaign, with a few horses coughing in his yard, he is satisfied Hurricane Fly is fit enough to do himself justice.
"Hurricane Fly worked well the other day and I'm happy with him. I'd imagine Christmas time (would be his next run after the weekend), but we'll try to take one day at a time. We're slow enough getting out this season. We're getting into gear very slowly now," Mullins told At The Races.
"I'm hoping they stay right. A few were coughing. We had to stop for about a fortnight. I just didn't want to work too many of the horses. That held us up a little bit but, fortunately, it seemed to be the fillies that got sick. One or two of the horses did, but I think that's all gone out of the yard now.
"If we can just keep them right I'd be hoping for the best."
The fact Go Native is even competing in Grade One races again is testament to his trainer Noel Meade. He was sent off favourite for the 2010 Champion Hurdle but sustained an injury and did not return until October, when third in a Flat race, after which he bolted up in a similar event at Galway.
"He seems very well, so we'll have a go at a Grade One. I've been very happy with him at home, and I hope he keeps on improving as he did from his first race back to his second. He was very good the last day but we could do without the rain," said County Meath-based Meade.
Captain Cee Bee has been enjoying something of a resurgence since reverting to hurdles. The Eddie Harty-trained 11-year-old turned in an excellent effort when third in the Galway Hurdle in August before claiming Grade Two glory at Tipperary last month.
"It's a competitive enough race with Hurricane Fly and Go Native in there. They will be hard to beat, but our horse is in good form and he won well in Tipperary last time. He's been a great horse for us over the years. We think he will run well and give a good account of himself," said Frank Berry, racing manager to owner JP McManus.
Dermot Weld's classy dual-purpose runner Unaccompanied completes the Morgiana line-up.
1 March 2015Berlais lands Auteuil prize
Fred Winter favoured for Berbas
Cecil runner second at Huntingdon
High hopes for Meade Festival team
Cooper seeks Cheltenham riches
High hopes for Meade Festival team
Lemaire in hot water in Japan
Reckless camp consider Arkle bid
Super set for National Duty
Longsdon retains Joe faith
Nolan hoping Noble makes cut
Camping in line for Cup bid
Bin Suroor tribute for Cavalryman
Vautour excites Mullins in workout
Elliott posse work at Leopardstown
Geraghty confirmed for Master
Wayward back on right track
Investment gains Greatwood gold
Bal win delights connections
Glinger burns off Kelso rivals
Pipe proves he's a Soll man
Geraghty shines on Leave It
28 February 2015Festival plans fluid for Cyclone
Walter back for another victory
Irish pair do battle in France
Geraghty: Sprinter will be fitter
Wylie lines up Cheltenham team
Twiston-Davies Blak in business
Divine Bishop on Festival trail
Irish duo set Doncaster poser
Night riding high for Grimthorpe
Glingerburn facing another battle
Pipe targets Aintree with veterans
Carlito primed for Kelso return
McCoy not planning Festival goodbye
Bridge camp praying for rain
Cook suspended from riding
27 February 2015Golantilla in Ballsbridge bid
Safety strikes in Zabeel Mile
Fehily confirms Zarkandar mount
Lieutenant bosses Purcell rivals
Dettori delights on Dubday
Many Clouds goes back to school
Maguire loses appeal
New One at ease for Faugheen clash
Foxrock still in Gold Cup picture
Apache ready to take flight in JLT
26 February 2015Higgins back in business
Cookie poised for April return
Silvi threat unsettles Riches camp
No going concerns at Cheltenham
Fry resigned to Fehily Ruby loss
Trip key to Balder success - King
McLernon gets nod for Holywell
Salsify leads Foxhunter field
Mullins unveils Bumper entry
Curtis hoping for Cross revival
Aurore misses Mares' date