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Vanillier 'in great nick' for Grade 1 test

© Photo Healy Racing

Any more rain at Leopardstown would be a boost for Vanillier in his bid to land the second top-flight success of his career on Wednesday.

The six-year-old, who claimed the Grade One Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham in March, takes on seven rivals in a quality renewal of the three-mile Neville Hotels Novice Chase.

Having stepped up markedly from his chasing debut to land the Grade Two Florida Pearl Novice Chase over an extended two and three-quarter miles at Punchestown last time out, Gavin Cromwell hopes he can handle the step up in class.

Watering has taken place at the Dublin track and the overnight rain on Monday was very welcome.

Cromwell said: “He’s in great nick and hopefully they keep splashing the water on. He doesn’t need soft ground, but he wants safe jumping ground.

“That’s his ideal trip and going left-handed is a positive as well. He needs to step up again now.”

Gordon Elliott has won four of the last six editions of the race and he declared Fury Road and Troytown Chase winner Run Wild Fred this time.

They will be joined by Ontheropes who similarly drops back into novice company after producing a fine effort to finish fourth in the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury for Willie Mullins.

The Cheveley Park Stud-owned Ontheropes, who won the Munster National at Limerick on his seasonal debut, will be ridden by Paul Townend.

Richard Thompson of Cheveley Park said: “He was just taken off his feet in the Ladbrokes Trophy, but stayed on at the end.

“He’s a dour stayer really. Newbury was a bit too much for him at this stage, but it was worth a go.

“Going back into a smaller field against novices, you’d like to think he has got a decent shout of being involved.”

Fellow Mullins inmate Bacardys Henry de Bromhead’s Mr Incredible Ashdale Bob for Jessica Harrington and the Francis Casey-trained Max Flamingo complete the field.