Envoi Allen will face five rivals when he attempts to stretch his unbeaten career record under rules to 11 in the Sky Bet Killiney Novice Chase at Punchestown.
Having landed his point-to-point in February 2018, the Gordon Elliott-trained gelding has carried all before him – twice winning at the Cheltenham Festival, including last year’s Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle.
Owned by Cheveley Park Stud, the seven-year-old has embarked on a novice-chasing campaign this season and has been faultless in two victories to date, at Down Royal and most recently in Grade One company at Fairyhouse.
However, Sunday’s two-and-a-half-mile Grade Three promises to present his biggest test yet over the larger obstacles, because he must give 11lb all round to some smart performers – chief among them Asterion Forlonge.
Trained by Willie Mullins, the seven-year-old – who runs in the colours of Gold Cup-winning owner Joe Donnelly – was fourth to Shishkin in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and got off to a winning start over fences at this track in November, before falling in Limerick’s Grade One Faugheen Novice Chase over Christmas.
Joseph O’Brien supplies two further rivals in Navan winner Fils D’oudairies and Sempo – while Henry de Bromhead’s Punitive and Dinny Lacey, from James Motherway’s yard, complete the intended line-up.