Avant Tout tackles Naas heat

Avant Tout aims to confirm himself a leading contender for the Hennessy Gold Cup with a positive return to action at Naas on Sunday.

Avant Tout returns at Naas on Sunday

The Willie Mullins-trained six-year-old is a best priced 10-1 second-favourite for the prestigious Newbury showpiece on November 26 having rounded off last season with victory in a valuable novice handicap at the Punchestown Festival.

He makes his seasonal reappearance over an inadequate distance of two miles in the Brady's Family Ham Supporting Kildare GAA Poplar Square Chase, but connections feel the Grade Three contest will be the perfect warm-up for his big-race assignment in three weeks' time.

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Steve Massey, racing manager for the owners the Supreme Horseracing Club, said: "He's in really good order and it will be good to get a run into him before the Hennessy.

"Two miles is obviously a bit on the short side for him, but he jumps well and hopefully this will loosen him up and sharpen him up for Newbury.

"He's an exciting prospect for the season and this is just the starting point for him."

Henry de Bromhead's Alisier D'Irlande appears Avant Tout's biggest danger. He impressed at Naas and Leopardstown in February, before proving no match for the mighty Douvan at Aintree.

Gordon Elliott is represented by The Game Changer and Tell Us More, and a case can be made for them both, while the Arthur Moore-trained Dandrige completes the field.

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