Voler La Vedette: bids for back-to-back wins in the Hatton's Grace HurdlePICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)
Stars out to stake festival claims at Fairyhouse
VOLER LA VEDETTE, Champagne Fever and Dedigout are just three of the stars competing on a magical card at Fairyhouse on Sunday featuring three Grade 1 races.
Past winners on what is always an informative card include Limestone Lad, Brave Inca and Hurricane Fly and the outcome of Sunday's feature races are guaranteed to have a bearing on the Cheltenham Festival markets.
World Hurdle runner-up Voler La Vedette bids for back-to-back wins in the Hatton's Grace Hurdle (2.40) as she looks to end a run of four seconds.
The daughter of King's Theatre gets a handy 7lb from her male counterparts but has to bounce-back from a below par comeback run when beaten at odds of 1-7.
Trainer Colm Murphy said: "We'd have been a lot happier had she won at Navan, but apart from the result we were happy enough, and she came out of the race well. Hopefully, things will work out better for her this time."
Her rivals include the Willie Mullins-trained pair of Zaidpour and So Young, as well as Noel Meade's Monksland, and Voler La Vedette will need to be right back to her best to register a 14th career victory.
A year after Bog Warrior routed his rivals to the tune of 31 lengths in the Drinmore Novice Chase, Gigginstown House Stud and Tony Martin chase further success in the Grade 1 contest with the highly-touted Dedigout.
An impressive 34 length winner on his debut over fences at Punchestown last month, Dedigout faces a sterner test on Sunday with all four of his rivals coming into the race off the back of winning efforts.
Martin said: "We were very happy with him at Punchestown the last day. This will be a quite a step up in class for him but I think he's entitled to run a very good race. He'll like the ground and he's going there in good form."
Champagne Fever is already a Cheltenham Festival winner and bids to enhance his claims for a second win at the March showpiece in the Royal Bond Novice Hurdle.
The Champion Bumper winner is vying for favouritism for the Neptune Investment Novices' Hurdle but has to negotiate Jezki and Minsk on only his second start over hurdles.
Fairyhouse Soft, heavy in places
Kempton Standard to Slow
Leicester Hurdles: Soft, heavy in places. Chase: Good to soft, good in places and soft on the Flat course crossings.
THIRD INSPECTION AT 11.30AM DUE TO FROST