A Plus Tard (left) triumphed last year in Leopardstown. Bryan Keane/INPHO

A Plus Tard faces seven in Savills Chase defence

A Plus Tard chased home stablemate Minella Indo in the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

LAST YEAR’S WINNER A Plus Tard heads a field of eight runners declared for the Savills Chase at Leopardstown.

Henry de Bromhead’s charge lunged late to deny the Willie Mullins-trained pair of Kemboy and Melon in a thrilling renewal of the Grade One contest 12 months ago and the trio will renew rivalries on Tuesday.

Having gone on to chase home stablemate Minella Indo in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, and make a hugely impressive return in the Betfair Chase at Haydock last month, A Plus Tard will be a hot favourite to successfully defend his Savills Chase crown.

Kemboy, who won the race three years ago, was well-beaten on his seasonal debut in the John Durkan Memorial Punchestown Chase, but will be expected to raise his game on a track where he excels.

Mullins also runs Janidil, Melon and Franco De Port, who finished second, third and seventh in the John Durkan just over three weeks ago.

The field is completed by a trio of Gordon Elliott-trained runners, with 2019 Savills Chase victor Delta Work joined by stablemates Galvin and Samcro.

The other Grade One on Tuesday’s card is the Dornan Engineering Christmas Hurdle, in which Gavin Cromwell’s Flooring Porter bids for back-to-back victories.

Last season’s Stayers’ Hurdle hero fell on his first start of the campaign at Navan last month.

His biggest threat could be Klassical Dream, who was a brilliant winner at Punchestown in the spring and is one of four runners for the Mullins team along with Mr Adjudicator, Saldier and Burning Victory.

Elliott saddles Abacadabras, Commander Of Fleet, Grand Roi and Sire Du Berlais, with Matthew Smith’s Ronald Pump and the Mouse Morris-trained Sams Profile completing the field.

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