Alderwood on the Way back
Tom Mullins is hopeful dual Cheltenham Festival winner Alderwood may be coming back to top form ahead of the Kerry Group Hilly Way Chase at Cork on Sunday.
Winner of the County Hurdle at Prestbury Park in 2012 before landing a gamble in the Grand Annual 12 months later, Alderwood missed the majority of last season after suffering injury on his comeback run at Naas in October of last year.
Since being brought down on his return in this summer's Galway Plate, the 10-year-old has finished fourth in the Kerry National over three miles, third behind Don Cossack at Punchestown over almost three miles and runner-up behind Champagne Fever in the two-and-a-half-mile Clonmel Oil Chase.
Alderwood is back over the minimum distance in an intriguing 10-runner field this weekend.
Mullins said: "He's been running very consistently without getting back to a stage where I could be as bullish about him as I once was.
"He had an awful injury last October and I think it's just taken a while for him to get his confidence back, but hopefully we're getting there.
"He ran a good race in Clonmel the last day to finish second. He hit a bit of a flat spot for some reason, but he came home well and he was giving 4lb to Champagne Fever.
"We're coming back to two miles on Sunday, so it will be interesting to see how he goes. It will give us a good gauge as to where we should go with him.
"He seems in good form I'm hoping he has a big shout."
Tom's brother Willie fires a formidable twin assault with last year's winner Twinlight joined by stable companion Felix Yonger as the champion trainer bids for a seventh win in the last eight renewals of the Grade Two contest.
Henry de Bromhead's 2012 winner Days Hotel is also in the line-up.