Trainer Paul Nolan is confident Noble Prince is ready to show his true colours in the Keelings Irish Strawberry Hurdle at Fairyhouse on Monday.
The 2011 Jewson Novices' Chase hero enjoyed another fine campaign last season, but things have not gone so well this time around.
The nine-year-old suffered injury when finishing well down the field in the Old Roan Chase at Aintree in late October and was not seen again until running a creditable fourth back over hurdles at Leopardstown at the start of March.
He sticks to the smaller obstacles for this two-and-a-half-mile test, in which Nolan has identified the Willie Mullins-trained Zaidpour as the one to beat.
"I think he's come on an awful lot for his first run back in Leopardstown," said the County Wexford handler.
"I know he was beaten a long way, but he was very burly that day and he should strip much fitter now.
"On the ratings he has to improve - if Zaidpour runs up to his best he's the one we all have to beat - but we'll give it a go.
"It's been a frustrating season with our horse. He got the injury in Aintree and it's been a long road back, but hopefully that's behind him now.
"Hopefully, if all goes well, our horse will go on to Punchestown and could go back over fences there for the Gold Cup."
Edward Harty is hopeful of a bold show from his mare Dressedtothenines, the mount of Tony McCoy.
She steps back up in grade following victories at Punchestown and Naas.
Harty said: "It's a step up for her, but she has been placed at Grade Two level in novice company and I think she deserves a shot at it.
"There aren't too many races for mares once they've gone up the food chain a bit and she goes to Fairyhouse in good shape.
"Hopefully she'll be in there fighting at the finish and that's all you can ask for.
"Zaidpour is a consistent horse, Noble Prince is in there as well and then there's Oilily down the bottom - it's a hot little contest.
"Hopefully we're in there with a chance at the last and may the best man win from there - or best mare, hopefully."