Footpad impressed Willie Mullins in a Tuesday morning workout and is ready to return this weekend, although a final decision on whether the runaway Racing Post Arkle winner will head to Naas or Navan will not be made until Friday.
Paddy Power believe Footpad will show up in the Poplar Square Chase at Naas on Saturday as they have installed him at 1-4 for that Grade 3 contest, while he can be backed at 5-1 for Sunday's Grade 2 thetote.com Fortria Chase at Navan.
Mullins admits he is keen to keep Footpad and Great Field apart at this stage of the season and, given that the JP McManus-owned tearaway holds only an entry in the Fortria, it seems as if Mullins is leaning towards the Naas assignment for his leading Queen Mother and King George fancy.
"Footpad did a very, very good piece of work yesterday morning and I was very happy with what I saw," Mullins said. "The plan is to run him this weekend. He has options at Naas and Navan and I will decide nearer the time which race he will go for.
"Great Field seems in good form too and is ready to start back, so he could turn up at Navan on Sunday. Given how early it is in the season, it would probably be best to keep them apart."
Paddy Power have made last season's Triumph Hurdle winner Farclas 2-1 favourite to win the Fishery Lane Hurdle at Naas on Saturday but will not run, according to Gordon Elliott.
He said: "He'll give this weekend a miss. He worked this morning and he's just not where I want him at the moment after having a wind operation. He's probably a couple more weeks off a run. We'll keep him over hurdles and step up in trip this year."
The clash many racing fans will be looking forward to most this weekend is the bout between Quick Grabim and Felix Desjy in the Grade 3 For Auction Novice Hurdle. Both are reported to be on course for the contest by their trainers.
Elliott said of Felix Desjy: "I think quite a bit of him and he will run on Sunday. He goes on any type of ground, has a good cruising speed and he already has a run under his belt too."
Quick Grabim followed up his Listowel maiden hurdle success with a stylish Grade 3 win at Tipperary and Mullins is keen for him to head to Navan on Sunday.
"QuickGrabim has done really well and keeps progressing. I like where I have him at the moment and the plan is for him to head to Navan. That would look the right race for him," Mullins said.