Sizing John and Coneygree on collision course in Punchestown Gold Cup
Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Sizing John heads a field of six declared for the Coral Punchestown Gold Cup on Wednesday.
The Jessica Harrington-trained seven-year-old has been a revelation since stepping up from two miles, over which he was no match for Douvan.
He showed longer trips were his bag when winning the Irish Gold Cup over three miles at Leopardstown in February before lifting the blue riband prize over an extended three and a quarter miles last month.
Sizing John will face a new rival on home soil in the 2015 Gold Cup scorer Coneygree, who is on the comeback trail.
The 10-year-old, trained by Mark Bradstock, has been restricted by injury to just two runs since his famous success, but he shaped encouragingly when second to Cue Card in the Betfair Chase at Haydock in November when last seen in action.
Willie Mullins is represented by Gold Cup fourth Djakadam, who has finished second in this race for the past two seasons.
Gordon Elliott saddles Outlander, who won the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown over Christmas only to run below par in the Gold Cup.
There is another old favourite in Anthony Curran's Flemenstar, while Henry de Bromhead's Champagne West, winner of the Thyestes Chase but a disappointment at Cheltenham, completes the line-up.
The two withdrawals at the 48-hour final declaration stage were Irish Cavalier and Zabana.