Trainer Henry De Bromhead reports reigning Queen Mother Champion chaser Sizing Europe on course for a mouthwatering clash with Big Zeb in Sunday's Tied Cottage Chase at Punchestown.
The 10-year-old makes his eagerly-awaited return to action in the build-up to the Cheltenham Festival following an impressive win in the Sportingbet Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown in December.
De Bromhead told Attheraces: "Things have been good. He had a break for a few weeks after he returned from Sandown but has stepped up his work after Christmas and is in good form.
It is now all systems go for Punchestown at the weekend.
"It is a race that all the top two-mile Irish chasers go for and it is a shame that is not a Grade 1," De Bromhead added.
"So Sizing Europe will have to give weight away to his rivals in the ground but other than that, it comes at the perfect time ahead of Cheltenham."
De Bromhead is now looking forward to crossing swords again with Big Zeb, who arrives on the back of wins at Navan and Lepardstown this winter.
"This is a stepping stone to Cheltenham but you do want to win every race. Both are high-class horses and there is little between Big Zeb and Sizing Europe so we are hoping for a good run," the trainer said.