Star cast for Down Royal Festival
Top steeple chaser Kauto Star is a definite runner in the Jim Nicholson Champion Chase at Down Royal's Festival meeting on Saturday.
Trainer Paul Nicholls said: "Kauto Star runs and I have booked Ruby Walsh for the mount. In addition I run Noland in the Novices Chase which is a grade 3 affair.
“Kauto Star is in good form and although this will be his first run of the season I expect a classy performance."
Kauto Star faces eight opponents at the forfeit stage. A Fistfullofdollars trained by Noel Meade and owned by Eamon McElroy a retired Belfast banker is included as well as two other English runners.
The Listener who fell in the race last year is trained by Nick Mitchell, former assistant to Robert Alner has been confirmed as has Turpin Green trained by Nicky Richards. Turpin Green was third in the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
The other runners are Knight Legend trained by Jessica Harrington, Light on the Broom, a course winner, Notre Pere, Oh Jackie and Snowy Morning trained by Willie Mullins .
The big race on Friday is the Anglo Irish Bank Hurdle. Cork All Star trained by Jessica Harrington is seeking a major hurdle win after being disappointing. He meets Jered trained by Meade and a winner of the Champion Novices Hurdle at Punchestown.
In addition Leg Spinner owned by Moira businessman Billy Moffett and trained by Tony Martin is a likely runner.
Friday’s meeting begins at 1.10pm while Saturday at 1pm.