Honeysuckle will face just four rivals in the Chanelle Pharma Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown, with Willie Mullins deciding against taking her on with Appreciate It.

Henry de Bromhead’s mare has been head and shoulders above her contemporaries for two seasons now and bids for a third successive win in the day two feature at this year’s Dublin Racing Festival.

She reappeared this season with victory in the Hatton’s Grace at Fairyhouse, which she was winning for the third year, and took her unbeaten record under Rules to 13.

Mullins had planned to go chasing this season with Appreciate It, who has been off the track since running out a wide-margin winner of the Supreme Novice’ Hurdle at Cheltenham last March.

However, a setback derailed those plans and he will remain over hurdles for this season, but the prospect of taking on Honeysuckle first time out has obviously not appealed.

Instead, the champion trainer saddles Saint Roi, third in the Matheson Hurdle to stablemate Sharjah, and the mare Echoes In Rain, who has finished well beaten in both her races this season.

There is a third mare lining up in the form of Paul Hennessy’s stable star Heaven Help Us, with Gordon Elliott’s Matheson runner-up Zanahiyr completing the field.

Chacun Pour Soi and Greaneteen are among five runners declared for the Ladbrokes Dublin Chase.

The Mullins-trained Chacun Pour Soi bids for a third successive victory in the Grade One contest, but needs to bounce back from a disappointing showing in the Tingle Creek at Sandown in December.

Greaneteen won the Tingle Creek for Paul Nicholls before finding Shishkin too strong in the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton.

Captain Guinness, Cash Back and Dunvegan also take part.

Mullins’ Galopin Des Champs is the star attraction in the the Ladbrokes Novice Chase, with Beacon Edge, Fury Road and Master McShee also part of an eight-strong line-up.

Sir Gerhard faces My Mate Mozzie, Three Stripe Life and Colonel Mustard in a field of nine for the Tattersalls Ireland Novice Hurdle, while Grand National winner Minella Times carries top weight in the Bulmers Secret Orchard Leopardstown Handicap Chase.

There was seven millimetres of rain overnight on Thursday, but the ground remains yielding on both the chase and hurdles tracks.

Rain is forecast on Saturday afternoon into the evening, with up to 12 millimetres forecast.

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