Henry de Bromhead expects Petit Mouchoir to improve from his fine comeback run behind Footpad at Leopardstown last weekend ahead of a likely rematch at next month's Cheltenham Festival.
Petit Mouchoir beat Footpad to claim both the Ryanair Hurdle and the Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown last season and was also a place ahead of his rival when finishing third in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham last March.
The Willie Mullins-trained Footpad was the clear winner when the pair locked horns once more in last Saturday's Irish Arkle, but given that was Petit Mouchoir's first run since making a successful chasing debut at Punchestown in October, De Bromhead is understandably optimistic his charge can at least close the gap at Prestbury Park.
He said: "Petit Mouchoir seems good, really fresh and well since the run and I'm delighted with him. I thought he ran really well and I think he'll come on from the run.
"He seemed very fresh before the race and then those couple of mistakes early on were unlike him. He was just so bullish to be back.
"Hopefully he'll improve. He's in both the Arkle and the JLT at Cheltenham. I presume he'll run in the Arkle, but nothing is confirmed as yet."
Another De Bromhead inmate to perform well in defeat at the inaugural Dublin Racing Festival was last season's Queen Mother Champion Chase hero Special Tiara.
The 11-year-old adopted his customary pacesetting role in the Coral Dublin Chase and boxed on well to finish third behind the impressive Min and Simply Ned.
De Bromhead added: "Special Tiara is in good form. Touch wood, they've all come out of Leopardstown well, so I'm happy with them all."
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