Bellshill embarks on chasing career at Gowran
Former classy hurdler Bellshill starts out over fences in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Beginners Steeplechase at Gowran Park on Saturday.
The son of King's Theatre signed off last season with victory in the Grade One novice hurdle at the Punchestown Festival.
He holds an entry in the Grade One Drinmore novice chase at Fairyhouse next month, so will be a warm order to oblige for Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh tomorrow.
Mullins' son Patrick Mullins said: "He's another point-to-point horse and he seems to improve as the season goes on. He's done that for the last two years.
"I'd say drier ground suits him but it will be good to get him going and hopefully he can get off to a good start."
Don't Touch It, who also scored at the top level over hurdles, should keep Bellshill honest.
The Mullins team also has bright prospects with the unbeaten Invitation Only who contests the Race That Stops A County Thyestes Jan 26th Maiden Hurdle.
His winning sequence comprises a point-to-point and a pair of bumpers. He was last seen winning at Punchestown in April, a bumper that stablemate Yorkhill took in 2015 before he landed three Grade One hurdles.
Mullins said: "He is a horse with a lot of potential and we're looking forward to getting him started over hurdles.
"He's won a point-to-point, so we know he can jump and I'd probably see him as a stayer in the making.
"I think Barra is probably the one we've got to beat. She's a mare we bought, we had her last year and she's quite smart.
"It will be interesting to see how the two of them match up."
Barra debuts for Gigginstown and Gordon Elliott.
The Gigginstown/Elliott alliance also introduce French-bred Dakota Moirette for the www.gowranpark.ie 3-Y-O Maiden Hurdle.
Niven might push him though, as this triple flat winner could build on a fourth place in a Fairyhouse maiden hurdle.