Willie Mullins is confident Galopin Des Champs is becoming "the complete package" ahead of his bid for glory in the Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup on Friday.
The most successful trainer in Festival history finally ended his long wait for a first victory in the blue riband with Al Boum Photo in 2019 - a success he repeated 12 months later.
Bar his final fence exit in the Turners' Novices' Chase at last year's Festival, Galopin Des Champs has been foot-perfect over fences so far - winning each of his five starts, including a dominant first chasing success over three miles in last month's Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown.
The seven-year-old will take a step into the unknown over an extended three and a quarter miles in the Cotswolds, but Mullins does not expect him to be beaten for a lack of stamina.
"He did everything right at Leopardstown. I was very happy with what he did and Paul (Townend) was very happy that he jumped and came through when he wanted him to," said Mullins.
"He felt he had plenty of horse under him passing through the line and that's important because there's another two furlongs in Cheltenham.
"When he won over three miles as a novice over hurdles, I was never worried about his stamina after that. It's just all about temperament that the horse learns to settle during a race and he's done that in his last two runs.
"Paul is much happier with him and has got confidence now that he can use him in a race when he wants to use him.
"The horse is becoming the complete package."
Mullins has a second contender in the form of Stattler, a horse who has no stamina questions having won the three-mile-six-furlong National Hunt Chase 12 months ago but who was eight lengths behind Galopin Des Champs when filling the runner-up spot in the Irish Gold Cup.
The trainer's son Patrick is once again on board Stattler, with stable jockey Paul Townend keen to attend to what he says is "unfinished business" aboard the hot favourite.
"Galopin Des Champs been excellent this year and has really grown up," he told Ladbrokes.
"I just can't wait to ride him. Bar the hiccup we had at Cheltenham last year at the last fence, he has been foot-perfect and seems to have learned from that. We have unfinished business here and he is a deserved favourite.
"I think he will stay the trip, but we won't know until we try. The way he went through the line in the Irish Gold Cup suggests it won't be a problem."
Gala Marceau looks to confirm Dublin Racing Festival Form over Lossiemouth as Willie Mullins holds an enviable hand in the JCB Triumph Hurdle (1.30pm).
She finished seven and a half lengths adrift of her stablemate Lossiemouth when they met over the Christmas period, but turned the tables in style to scoop Grade One honours at Leopardstown last month.
Many felt Lossiemouth was an unlucky loser on that occasion. Although Peter Molony, racing manager for owner Kenny Alexander of Honeysuckle fame, somewhat agrees, he believes Gala Marceau will be right in the mix once again if curbing her tendency to pull hard during her races.
He said: "Although Lossiemouth was unlucky on the day, Danny (Mullins, jockey) felt his lady wasn't stopping and actually felt he was running away from her again at the end.
"I don't think I've ever seen a horse pull so hard in a Grade One and win, so we're hoping with the stronger pace on Friday she will settle a bit better.
"If she settles she could be hard to beat - she will be there or thereabouts anyway."
Gala Marceau will once again be partnered by Danny Mullins and connections are delighted to have retained his services.
"We were a small bit worried he might have to ride one of the other two, but he said a couple of weeks ago he wasn't getting off this lady," continued Molony.
"She has won him a Grade One and he wasn't going to jump off her. We are very happy about that."
Paul Townend will continue his association with Lossiemouth, who attempts to give owner Rich Ricci back to back victories in the race.
"I spent a lot of time trying to figure out which one I would ride," the leading jockey told Ladbrokes.
"I am happy to be on Lossiemouth but whether I am on the right one remains to be seen.
"We were unlucky at the Dublin Racing Festival. She showed huge ability in her two wins before that and to get as close as she did to Gala Marceau after suffering so much interference that day was impressive.
"My horse has the form in the book so I sided with her."
The respective choices of Mullins and Townend allows Patrick Mullins to come in for the plum ride aboard Blood Destiny, who has disposed his stablemate Lossiemouth at the top of the market in recent weeks.
Second to Bo Zenith in his sole start in France, he has done nothing wrong in two appearances for Mullins, beating a useful cast that included Tuesday's Boodles winner Jazzy Matty by 18 lengths at Fairyhouse in January.
The Dublin Racing Festival came too soon for him to test his mettle against his esteemed colleagues, but he is rated highly by the master of Closutton.
He said: "Blood Destiny is very good and I just felt it was only three weeks since his last run, he's only four and it was going to be a hard race if he ran in it.
"He'll go there a bit fresher and he's a fair sort."
The Mullins hand is strengthened by Zenta, who created a taking impression at Fairyhouse last month when winning a Grade Three with ease.
"Apart from a few mistakes she won really nicely at Fairyhouse," said Frank Berry, racing manager to owner JP McManus.
"It looks a very hot race and she has it all to do, but it looks a nice race to run her in."
Je Garde, Cinsa and Gust Of Wind are the others representing Mullins, with the latter backed to build on her debut for the yard at Leopardstown last month.
"He is quite unique in terms of his appearance - he looks like a Dalmatian," said Craig Kieswetter of Barnane Stud, who own in the gelding in partnership with the Heffer family at Hollywood Bets.
"Ross Doyle (bloodstock agent) rang me up after he ran in France and said to me, 'you have to buy this horse, he looks to have tremendous potential'. We have full trust in Ross and Peter and Anna (the Doyles) and, when they come to us so adamant and so confident in a horse, most of the time our arm gets twisted.
"He's trending in the right direction and he's obviously raced in Graded company before, but he is still inexperienced for his age.
"We are excited by him, but we're not going there expecting overly much. We're hoping for a decent run and he's one we have highlighted as with a bit more experience and time to strengthen up, could be a proper Graded-race horse at all future festivals."
The late defection of Scriptwriter has left the home challenge looking extremely weak, with Ben Pauling leading the charge with his new recruit from France, Jipcot - who was supplemented into the race at the six-day stage.
The Naunton Downs handler is also represented by Active Duty, while Gary Moore is hoping to see the Jupiter Du Gite who bolted up on debut at Newbury rather than the version which bombed out at Cheltenham on Festival Trials Day.
He said: "He's a hard horse to gauge at home and the way he ran first time was probably the biggest surprise I've had all season to be honest with you. In contrast, the way he ran the second time was no surprise.
"That's him, he's obviously a very talented horse and he's had a good break between races now. He goes there in very special order with himself - he's in really great order.
"I think the thing with him is he has got to have really soft ground - that day at Newbury it was very soft and he enjoyed it."
Gordon Elliott's Three Card Brag is expected to relish a step up in trip in the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle (2.50pm) on Friday.
The six-year-old has had a productive season so far, winning on debut at Galway and then coming home third in a Grade Three novice hurdle at Navan in November - beaten just a length and a quarter.
Up in trip at Naas he then missed out by a neck in the Grade Two Navan Novice Hurdle, a race won by subsequent Supreme Novices' Hurdle fourth Inthepocket.
Three Card Brag then headed to Fairyhouse to score a 12-length success in a January novice event, running like a horse that will thrive when asked to take on a longer distance.
"We've very happy with him, we've always thought the step up in trip would suit him," said Iain Turner, racing manager to co-owners the McNeill family.
"We've not wanted to go there over three miles too early but we've always thought he'll stay, his pedigree suggests he'll stay and how he hits the line in his races suggests he'll stay.
"It's been the plan for a long time, he's a chaser for next season but we think he'll go very well - it's all systems go.
"Early in the season at Navan, the ground was quicker than ideal and the trip was certainly shorter than ideal, but he still had the ability to finish third in a Graded race and he stepped up to finish second at Naas behind Inthepocket.
"While not winning, I still think Inthepocket performed with credit in the Supreme.
"We're happy with how he's gone, Gordon's horses are looking and running well. He's looked like our best chance of the week and he remains that way."
Corbetts Cross holds a live chance for Grand National-winning trainer Emmet Mullins.
The six-year-old has run once for Mullins, winning the Johnstown Novice Hurdle by a head after changing hands having previously been successfully campaigned by Eugene O'Sullivan.
That race was a Grade Two event over nearly two miles at Naas and he will now step up to both Grade One level and a distance of three miles at Prestbury Park.
Frank Berry, racing manager to owner JP McManus, said: "Emmet seems very happy with him and we're hoping for a bit of luck with him. It will be nice to see him and seeing how he gets on.
"We don't know an awful lot and haven't owned him that long, but Emmet seems to be really happy and he said he came out of the Naas race well and we've left it all up to Emmet.
"We're looking forward to him and hope he runs well."
Joseph O'Brien's Dawn Rising runs in the same McManus silks, a six-year-old seen twice this season in two-and-a-half-mile novice hurdles.
The gelding was a winner in the Monksfield Novice Hurdle, a Grade Three at Navan, and then came home third in the Grade One Lawlor's Of Naas Novice Hurdle in early January.
Berry said: "It looks like he is going to love the trip and the ground and has done very little wrong.
"Joseph is very happy with him and we hope for a good run."
Willie Mullins' Embassy Gardens was most recently seen routing the field in a Thurles Novice in January, claiming a 35-length victory after prior placed runs in shorter-distances races.
Jockey Paul Townend said on his Ladbrokes blog: "He is an improving horse as he's moved up in trip.
"The form of his win at Thurles isn't the best form in the race but he was so impressive winning by 35 lengths that day.
"He seems to be going the right way and three miles around Cheltenham should be right up his street.
"I think he will give a good account of himself."
Of stablemate Shanbally Kid, the rider added: "Shanbally Kid is one I tipped up as an each-way shot in the preview night.
"He has been getting his act together and the trip will suit him as will the New course."