Willie Mullins has said his leading hope for the Champion Hurdle, Saldier is back to his best and progressing really nicely ahead of his trip to Prestbury Park in March.
The Rich Ricci owned six year old had been off the track for some time after picking up a nasty injury last season but this season on his only run showed off his clear ability.
With a big target of the Champion Hurdle Mullins sent Saldier to Naas for his seasonal debut last year in the Grade Three Fishery Lane Hurdle.
The gelding had jumped lovely all the way round before coming up to the last alongside Espoir D'Allen, who landed the Champion Hurdle at the 2019 festival, but unfortunately taking a nasty fall when he looked sure to take the race.
That form alone was a huge thing to look but after the fall it was revealed Saldier had broken his nose and was not raced again throughout that season.
Back for this campaign with all roads leading towards the Champion Hurdle that he unfortunately missed last year he could not have made a bigger statement on the division.
In November he went to Punchestown for the Grade One Morgiana Hurdle taking on three of his stablemates and tow other runners and he looked out of favour in the betting.
However, he jumped perfectly and showed an electric turn of foot near the finish to take the contest and lay down a huge marker on the division.
He has since missed Grade One events at Leopardstown over Christmas and was not among the entries for next month's Irish Champion Hurdle at the same track, but on Wednesday was in the 36 declarations for the Champion hurdle and his trainer has been very happy with him since the turn of the year.
(Credit Racing Post) Mullins said: "Saldier is progressing slowly but nicely after his hold-up.
"I don't plan to run him before Cheltenham and the Champion Hurdle remains the plan."