Gordon Elliott appears to hold all the aces in his bid for a fifth victory in the Ladbrokes Champion Chase at Down Royal.
Having previously struck gold with Roi Du Mee (2013), Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Don Cossack (2015), Outlander (2017) and The Storyteller (2020), the Cullentra handler fires a twin assault as he attempts to equal Paul Nicholls' tally of five victories in the race.
Galvin, who was narrowly beaten by the Nicholls-trained Frodon in last year’s renewal before going on to pip the brilliant A Plus Tard in a thrilling Savills Chase at Leopardstown, is set to go off favourite.
He subsequently proved no match for A Plus Tard when fourth in the big one at Cheltenham and finished only sixth behind Allaho in the Punchestown Gold Cup – but having confirmed his well being with a comeback victory in a Grade Three at Punchestown last month, Elliott is anticipating another bold showing on Saturday.
"I like starting my horses in Down Royal and the ground is good and safe," he said.
"I thought Galvin was good at Punchestown when he gave 12lb to everything and he has got stronger. If you took A Plus Tard out of the Gold Cup, he wasn’t beaten far and the race wasn’t run to suit him as they didn’t go quick. He is a good horse."
"Galvin has fitness on his side, but if the rain came it might suit Conflated better – and Conflated goes well fresh"
The trainer has a major second string to his bow in the form of Conflated, who claimed a surprise victory in last season’s Irish Gold Cup and was last seen finishing second to Clan Des Obeaux in Aintree’s Betway Bowl in April.
Elliott added: "Conflated’s runs at Leopardstown and Aintree were very good and I probably ran him in the wrong race by running him in the Ryanair Chase in Cheltenham (fell two fences from home).
"Galvin has fitness on his side, but if the rain came it might suit Conflated better – and Conflated goes well fresh."
Third in the betting behind the Elliott pair is four-time Grade One winner Kemboy – a rare runner in the race for champion trainer Willie Mullins.
The Closutton maestro has not been represented since Boston Bob and On His Own finished third and sixth respectively in 2014 and his only previous victory was provided by Florida Pearl in 1999.
Kemboy has not got his head in front since winning the 2021 Irish Gold Cup, was beaten by Galvin and Conflated last season and does not appear to be the force of old, but he is race-fit after finishing second to stablemate Easy Game twice this autumn over an inadequate two and a half miles.
The Henry de Bromhead-trained Envoi Allen has lost the aura of invincibility he once had, but did win a two-mile-one-furlong Grade One at Leopardstown last season before finishing third behind Energumene in the Champion Chases at Cheltenham and Punchestown in the spring.
The eight-year-old steps up to three miles for only the second time in his career on his reappearance.
The small but select field of five is completed by Noel Meade’s outsider Beacon Edge, who steps out of novice company for the first time over fences.
Watch the Down Royal Racing Festival live on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player on Saturday from 1.15pm.