Un De Sceaux will carry the hopes of local racing fans in a fascinating renewal of the Ryanair Chase tomorrow at Cheltenham.
Eddie O’Connell’s brilliant chaser is unbeaten this season after claiming two graded victories at Sandown and Cheltenham.
He was a runaway winner of the Arkle Novice Chase at the 2015 festival and finished runner-up to Sprinter Sacre in the Champion Chase last March.
The opposition is led by the JP McManus owned Uxizandre who has come in for sustained support in the betting market in recent days.
A previous winner of the race the drying ground conditions are sure to play to his strengths.
Ryanair supremo Michael O’Leary sponsors the race and he is represented by Empire Of Dirt who is trained by Gordon Elliot.
Interestingly, O’Leary has never won the race in his ten year sponsorship of the event.
Colm O’Connell represents the owners of Un De Sceaux and issued an upbeat bulletin on the chances of their pride and Joy.
"Preparations have gone really well and the step up in trip to two and half miles will suit our horse," Colm O'Connell said.
"His two runs this season have been impressive so it’s a case of fingers crossed at this stage.
"Obviously, our horse would prefer softer ground conditions but the course has dried out at this stage.”
The whole of Glanmire and Cork are behind the horse and with thousands bet on the horse, the local area, particularly the Castle Bar, will come to a standstill if the horse wins the Ryanair Chase.
“Messages of support have been flooding in and there is a huge crowd after travelling over from Glanmire.
"Willie (Mullins) has been delighted with the horse over recent weeks and we just need a bit of luck in running at this stage.
"This is a Grade One contest so the opposition is really strong.
"Uxizandre looks a serious danger, while the O’Leary’s would love to win the race with Empire Of Dirt.
"But, we are very confident our horse can win."
Meanwhile, Copeen’s Noel Fehily celebrated a brilliant victory aboard Buveur D’air in the Champion Hurdle on day one of the Cheltenham Festival.
It was a remarkable training performance from legendary trainer Nicky Henderson who had campaigned the horse over fences earlier in the season.
Fellow Cork man Denis O’Regan won the finale aboard Tully East which was one of four Irish winners on another dramatic day at the Cotswolds.
But the day belonged to the brilliant West Cork rider who once again proved the man for the big occasion.
“To win a second Champion Hurdle is very special and the Henderson team deserve all the credit," Noel Fehily said.
"Buveur D’air was jumping fences so it is always a worry they might jump too high when they go back over hurdles. Early on I felt I was doing too much and I thought it took me a while to get him switched off. "Obviously, Barry Geraghty was supposed to ride the horse but he got injured so my heart goes out to him.
“My horse jumped brilliant which is so important in a race like this. Coming down the hill I knew we were travelling really well as my lad is a real stayer. There is such a build up to the meeting so it’s unreal to land a big one. It’s been a great run and that was my 99th winner for the season. He's just a very good horse. It's just fantastic. It was a great performance.”