Flooring Porter, the winner of two Stayers’ Hurdle races, is one of a galaxy of stars entered to make their seasonal comebacks in Ireland this weekend. Strong fields have been announced for Saturday at Naas and Sunday at Navan.
The two-time Cheltenham Festival champion Bob Olinger and the Gavin Cromwell-trained stayer were both entered in Sunday’s Grade 2 Lismullen Hurdle (1.55).
The Railway Bar-sponsored prize is being competed for by festival Cross Country Chase winner Delta Work from last season, third-place finisher in the Champion Hurdle Zanahiyr, and proven Graded-class athletes Ashdale Bob, Teahupoo, and Sire Du Berlais.
Having missed the Grade 1 Racing Post Novice Chase last Christmas due to injury, Ferny Hollow could make a comeback at Naas in the Grade 3 Barberstown Castle Poplar Square Steeplechase (12.55) or wait until the Grade 2 Sean P. Muldoon & Patrick F. Gormley Fortria Chase (2.30) at Navan.
Both Riviere D’Etel, trained by Gordon Elliott, and stablemate Gentleman De Mee, who took first place in the Maghull Novices’ Chase, have entries in the same 2m races.
Vauban is not entered in the Grade 3 Fishery Lane Hurdle at Naas (12.20), but Fil Dor, a four-year-old who last season finished second to Willie Mullins’ Champion Hurdle contender in three Grade 1 races, is.
Icare Allen finished fourth in the Triumph Hurdle and Brazil took first place in the Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle, respectively.
Hercule Du Seuil, who recently competed for Willie Mullins and won an impressive maiden hurdle race at Tipperary, is one of the top contenders in the Grade 3 Gibney’s For Auction Novice Hurdle (1.20) on Sunday at Navan.
Flame Bearer, a fascinating new addition to Mullins’ stable from the Pat Doyle stable and winner of two Grade 2 novice hurdle races last year, could make his chasing debut for the legendary trainer in either a beginners’ chase over 2m4f at Naas (3.15) or 2m1f at Navan (12.45).