Moscow Mannon, one of Ireland's leading bumper performers last season, makes his debut over timber in the Irish Stallion Owners EBF Maiden Hurdle at Navan on Saturday.
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Trained in Northern Ireland by Brian Hamilton, the six-year-old was beaten just over five lengths into fourth by Champagne Fever in the Cheltenham Bumper in March.
A slight setback has delayed his hurdling debut but he is now ready to get going.
"I'm walking on egg shells a bit," admitted Hamilton.
"He made nice progress last season as he took time to strengthen up, but he's a lot stronger this year.
"He had a mishap schooling in October which put us back a bit as I wanted to run him at Down Royal. He just overstretched and pulled a few muscles.
"He's fine now, though, and all I can do with him at home has been done.
"In time I reckon he'll want two and a half miles but in heavy ground first time back two miles is fine.
"He handles bad ground but he showed at Cheltenham he handles good ground, too, so it makes no difference to him.
"If all goes well Leopardstown might just come a bit quick so we'll maybe look for a race for him in January, but I don't want to count my chickens before they're hatched.
"The owner has been very loyal to me and left him with me and I'm very grateful."
Leading jockey Andrew Lynch takes over from Declan Lavery in the saddle.