Rebel with a cause at Killarney
Trainer Mick Winters is keeping his fingers crossed ground conditions at Killarney will be suitable for Rebel Fitz as he prepares to make his third appearance over fences on Tuesday evening.
Last summer's Galway Hurdle hero is rated 155 over timber, having claimed six victories from 13 starts. He suffered an odds-on reverse on his fencing debut at Killarney in mid-May, but righted that wrong with a comfortable triumph at Ballinrobe later that month.
The eight-year-old now steps up to two and three-quarter miles for the Christy McSweeney Memorial Novice Chase.
Winters said: "I've walked the track and they've done a good job watering the ground, but we still wouldn't mind a drop of rain. Hopefully it's all right as we'd like to run him. He seems in grand form. I'm very happy with him."
Rebel Fitz will qualify for a handicap mark after his third chase start, with Winters having previously mentioned a possible tilt at the Galway Plate after his Ballinrobe success.
However, he is keen to see how he is assessed by the handicapper before committing his charge to the Ballybrit feature.
"We'll take it one step at a time and see what sort of rating he gets. It's a possible, but we'll play it be ear," said the County Cork-based trainer.
Barry Geraghty will be in the saddle as Rebel Fitz faces seven rivals.
Jessica Harrington saddles the hat-trick-seeking Beachdale Lad, while other contenders include Novarov and Toner D'Oudairies.
Trainer Gordon Elliott said of the latter: "It's a competitive race, so if he runs a good race we'll be happy. He seems to be well."