Mullins favours Zaidpour
Willie Mullins believes Zaidpour may have the edge over So Young in Saturday's Red Mills Trial Hurdle at Gowran Park.
The consistent Zaidpour clinched his first Grade One in the Hatton's Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse earlier this season and has won twice from three starts at Gowran, finding only Bog Warrior too strong in last month's Galmoy Hurdle.
So Young has always been held in high regard, but has come up slightly short in better company this term.
There is little between the pair at the ratings, with the 158-rated Zaidpour giving 5lb to So Young, who has a mark of 152.
Mullins said: "Zaidpour is in good form, he has a good record at the track and will love the ground.
"So Young has won three times over two miles and should go on the ground, but his form has been a bit in and out this season.
"We are just hoping he can put it all together. On recent form, you'd have to say Zaidpour would have the better chance."
Mick Winters had stable star Rebel Fitz entered at the confirmation stage, but instead relies upon talented mare Missunited.
She makes her first racecourse appearance since early November and the County Cork trainer admits she has her work cut out to beat the Mullins pair.
"She's in great form and I'm very happy with her at home, but we're going there hoping she'll run into some black type more than anything. We're not expecting her to win," said Winters.
"She's in good shape, but I think if we'd maybe had another month and had the chance to run her in a schooling race somewhere, she'd be a bit fitter.
"I still think she'll give a good account of herself as she's getting a lot of weight from Zaidpour and the other boys. It's a lovely race to give her a first run back and if she runs into the money I'll be delighted.
"The plan is to go for a Grade Three mares' race in Limerick next month."
Arnaud has plenty to do at the weights, but trainer Charles Byrnes is hoping a good performance will prime the five-year-old for a possible tilt at next month's County Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
Byrnes said: "He's in good form but he's obviously badly in at the weights.
"We're hoping for the best and I do think he'll run well, but realistically he'll need to improve eight or 10lb to be winning a race like this.
"He'll probably come up a bit short but hopefully he'll handle the ground all right. He might get an entry in the County Hurdle in Cheltenham."
Dermot Weld saddles Hisaabaat, a Grade One winner as a juvenile last season but disappointing so far during this campaign, with the six-runner field completed by Rory O'Moore.