Willie Mullins has a whole host of his superstar chasers set to go to post in the John Durkan Memorial Chase at Punchestown but it looks his most likely final entry will be the Rich Ricci owned Min.
Last year's winner of the race, Min went on to take two further Grade Ones throughout the season when landing the Ladbrokes Dublin Chase at Leopardstown and then at the Grand National meeting taking the Melling Chase.
Mullins still has entered the Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Al Boum Photo, superstar Douvan, Chacun Pour Soi and the special veteran Un De Sceaux.
Min although landing three black type races last season did fall short over two miles at Cheltenham in the Champion Chase which does suggest that he wants further during the season but starting off in the race he took last year has always been the plan.
The trainer said: “Min could start off in the John Durkan.
“We were delighted with his performance at Aintree last season over two and a half miles, and we’re looking forward to getting him started again. We have other entries but will decide closer to the time.”
Presenting Percy, as mentioned in another blog about the Patrick Kelly trained gelding will also make his seasonal reappearance in the John Durkan with his owner very happy with him after his injury setback he picked up in last year's Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Philip Reynolds said: “It’s so far so good with him – and the plan is to head to the John Durkan Chase, all being well.
“He still has an important few weeks ahead of him, and the next week or so will be crucial. All being well, he will start off at Punchestown, but we’ll keep our fingers crossed between now and then.”
There is very rarely a Grade One in Ireland without a Gordon Elliott representative involved in the contest and this is no exception with the Irish trainer holding five entries at this stage with Delta Work and Shattered Love his leading lights.
"We’ve got plenty of options for the John Durkan and we will just see how things go over the next few weeks – but hopefully we will be well represented,” said Elliott.
“Shattered Love had a lovely confidence booster in a mares chase at Clonmel last Thursday, and that should have done her the world of good.
“She ran very well in the Durkan last year, and I hope we can get her back there in the same form this year.”
Waiting Patiently is the only British entry out of the current 23 runner field but it is unlikely that the Ruth Jefferson trained star will be starting his season off in Ireland.