Easysland, who is a best-priced 5-1 second favourite for the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase at the Cheltenham Festival behind hat-trick seeking Tiger Roll, has been bought by leading owner JP McManus.
Trained by former French champion jockey David Cottin, Easysland made it five cross-country wins on the bounce when scoring impressively at Cheltenham last month, a first success at the track for both Cottin and jockey Jonathan Plouganou.
McManus has won the festival Cross Country Chase on six occasions, most recently with Cause Of Causes in 2017.
Having proved his aptitude for the track, Easysland is now scheduled to warm up for the festival with a defence of his title in the Grand Cross de Pau a week on Sunday.
Should all go according to plan there, the six-year-old will head to Cheltenham in an attempt to deny Tiger Roll a third win in the race and a fifth festival triumph in total.
"JP doesn't have much this year in the way of horses for the Cheltenham cross-country this year, which is a race he loves to target," said agent Hubert Barbe, a horse racing advisor who frequently acts for McManus in France. "He will run down at Pau as a prep before heading to Cheltenham."
Barbe added: "We have to try and take on Tiger Roll. Easysland is only a six-year-old and has it all ahead of him. That is what makes him an interesting purchase."
Easysland previously ran in the colours of David Futter's Yorton farm, home to his sire Gentlewave, but will now join a proud history of McManus runners trained in France that includes the Francois Doumen trio Baracouda, First Gold and L'Ami.
Entries for the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase will be released on February 26 and a strong French flavour is expected.
In addition to Easysland, Cottin could also enter his nearest pursuer from the race in December, Amazing Comedy, while compatriot Emmanuel Clayeux took the spoils with a 1-2 at the November meeting courtesy of Diesel D'Allier and Urgent De Gregaine, who is 12-1 to score having finished second and third to Tiger Roll at the last two festivals.