The top-class hurdler has been sublime on his two starts over fences to date, most recently claiming Grade One glory over this course and distance in late December.
He is already as short as 5-4 for the Arkle Trophy at the Cheltenham Festival in March and those odds are likely to shorten further if he can continue his winning ways in the Irish equivalent this weekend.
Footpad is one of three potential runners for Willie Mullins, who has claimed this prize with Un De Sceaux and Douvan in two of the last three years.
The champion trainer has also confirmed the JP McManus-owned pair of Bon Papa and Demi Sang, while the leading owner has a third potential representative in Ted Walsh's Any Second Now.
Michael O'Leary's Gigginstown House Stud is also triple-handed. Henry de Bromhead's Petit Mouchoir, who beat Footpad when landing the Irish Champion Hurdle here 12 months ago, appears the main hope, despite having been sidelined by injury since winning on his fencing debut at Punchestown in October.
Gordon Elliott's duo, Tombstone and Tycoon Prince, are the other contenders.
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