Captain Cee Bee will try to defy his advancing years and defend his title in Sunday's Grade Two Friends Of Tipperary Hurdle.

Now a 12-year-old, Captain Cee Bee claimed the Tipperary feature last autumn before going on to face Hurricane Fly in three Grade One heats.

While he finished second to Willie Mullins' champion in the Morgiana Hurdle, he was well beaten in fourth in both the Festival Hurdle at Christmas and the Irish Champion Hurdle back in January.

Captain Cee Bee has not run since that final defeat but trainer Eddie Harty reports his popular veteran to be in good shape to bid for a Tipperary double.

He said: "He's looking very well and is in great form. He's 12 now and he's going as well as realistically expected. He doesn't know that he's 12.

"I would have preferred to have got a run into him. He's won this race before and has won at the track twice. It's a lovely starting point for him. The ground should be perfect.

"It does help that there's no Hurricane Fly running, it's a bit early for him.

"You can discount his last run against Hurricane Fly, but in his previous two runs against the champion hurdler he ran very well and if he runs like that as a 12-year-old, he should go well.

"He hasn't run since January because I could see he was feeling it after a busy campaign. He ran in three Grade Ones in less than three months and before that had won a premier handicap at the Curragh on heavy ground and was second in Tipperary on heavy ground.

"There were also no suitable races for him on the ground he wants. "

While Harty believes Captain Cee Bee is suitably refreshed, he is keen to see how he fares at the weekend before planning his season.

He said: "He's had a good break and has freshened up. I've no campaign mapped out for him as I want to see how he performs on Sunday. I don't want him going down a slippery slope. I would end his racing then."

Hurricane Fly may not be lining up for Mullins but he does have a representative in Midnight Game, who finished fourth in the Grimes Hurdle here in July but was well beaten in the Galway Hurdle.

Fosters Cross represents Tom Mullins while Redera runs for Tony Martin.

Moon Dice, Foildubh, Miley Shah and False Economy make up the eight-strong field.