Mullins talks up Mikael claims
Willie Mullins believes Mikael D'Haguenet will take some beating in Sunday's Bar One Racing Drinmore Novice Chase at Fairyhouse.
The six-year-old is making his eagerly-awaited fencing bow after a novice hurdling campaign in 2008-9 which culminated in wins at Cheltenham and Punchestown, though he missed the whole of the last campaign after suffering a couple of setbacks.
Mullins said: "He is fine - we are sure he will handle the ground OK, we just hope he jumps well. He will be tough to beat if he has a clear round."
Mikael D'Haguenet is one of nine declared for the two-and-a-half-mile heat, with a number of his rivals already boasting winning form.
Noel Meade fields Realt Dubh, who has won two of his three starts over fences, including a Punchestown Grade Two last time.
The trainer said: "Realt Dubh is ready for the Drinmore Chase. He's a horse we like and he stays well and we are confident he will handle the ground and track."
Jessies Dream is another with winning form to his name after beating the well-regarded Berties Dream and Venalmar on his chasing bow.
Trainer Gordon Elliott said: "He's in very good form and he came out of his race at Galway in great shape. It looks a hot race, but we're confident he'll run well and we'll see if he's capable of becoming a Grade One horse.
"Mikael D'Haguenet hasn't run for a while, but he's a seriously good horse and he's the one we have to beat. If our horse does well we'll step him up in trip to run in the three-mile Feltham Novices' Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day."
Head Of The Posse was a Grade Three winner at Galway last time, with Colin Kidd's Back Of The Pack seeking a fourth win on the bounce. Bostons Angel, Erritt Lake, Kakagh and Lucky William complete the line-up.