Elliott's Out Sam can be an Ulster National hero at Downpatrick
The locally owned and trained Anseanachai Cliste, having won the Ulster Grand National last year, is out to reclaim the title - but the former champion point-to-pointer has shown little of late and Out Sam can triumph.
The local horse is now trained by Armagh handler and amateur rider Alan Wells.
Gordon Elliott and Davy Russell - the leading trainer and jockey at last week's Cheltenham Festival - are in red hot form, the handler recording 20 winners and the rider 13 winners in recent weeks, with Elliott recording a treble at Down Royal on Monday and Russell a double followed by a treble at Limerick on Wednesday.
The trainer runs a pair in the feature sponsored by Toals Bookmakers with Russell partnering Out Sam, which proved a leading fancy for the Thyestes Chase when rising English teenage jockey Jamie Bowen travelled over to take the ride.
Jack Kennedy is aboard Poorman's Hill, with which Elliott has won six races and is locally owned by Vincent Caldwell.
Dinnie's Vinnie, a previous course winner, holds major claims but Out Sam, fitted with a visor for the first time, can supply Russell with another winner.
A Place Apart, trained by Gavin Cromwell, is open to the most improvement in the handicap hurdle.
Veteran trainer John Kiely has a very rare runner at the local venue and travels from Waterford with Brave Out, which is rated a banker in the Molson Coors Rated Hurdle.
Larne-trained Ardmillan looks the danger to Bold Sky in the Ladbrokes Handicap Chase, where Omagh jockey Simon Torrens - who recorded his first winner at Down Royal on Monday - partners previous course winner Bill's Official.
Champion trainer Willie Mullins' Caro Des Flos can claim the opening WKD Hurdle sponsored by Templepatrick's Joe Sloan - newcomer Devil's Glen could supply the danger.
Timewaitsfornoone with dual Northern Champion rider Mark O'Hare aboard can win the hunterchase, while Getareason and Global Jackpot are the principal pair in the finale. The former can be taken to prevail.
SELECTIONS: 2.10 Caro Des Flos 2.45 Brave Out 3.20 A Place Apart 3.55 ULSTER NATIONAL 1st Out Sam 2nd Dinnie's Vinnie 3rd Poorman's Hill 4.30 Bold Sky 5.05 Timewaitsfornoone 5.35 Getareason
• Brian Hughes continues to enjoy a sensational season. The Armagh rider brought his tally to 130 winners for the season with a treble at Sedgefield yesterday.
He claimed the mares novice hurdle on the Donald McCain-trained Birch Vale prior to claiming the £30,000 featured handicap hurdle on Henry's Joy also for McCain.
Another good day at the office saw Hughes record a facile victory in the finale on Broadway Belle, trained by former jump jockey Chris Grant and supported from 9/2 to 9/4 favourite.
Hughes said: "It's going well - Donald McCain is a great supporter and I have built a relationship with numerous trainers."
The top jockey rides at Bangor today, where he has a full book of rides, including four for McCain.
Hughes' mounts today for the North Of England trainer are Knockrobin, Waterlord, Same Circus and San Pietro.