Freedom Steps back
Champion Hurdle entry Steps To Freedom makes his first start since September at Dundalk on Friday evening.
Last Updated: 14/02/13 6:37pm
The high-class dual-purpose performer lines up in the Crowne Plaza Leading Jockey & Trainer Championship Race at Dundalk.
The seven-year-old was one of Ireland's most exciting novice hurdlers last season, but disappointed in the Supreme at Cheltenham and subsequently at Fairyhouse.
Switched back to the Flat for a summer campaign, Steps To Freedom won at Dundalk in July and also ran some good races in defeat.
However he has not been seen since finishing tailed off in the Irish St Leger at the Curragh as trainer Jessica Harrington has been keen to avoid the deep winter ground.
Harrington said: "He seems in good form and it was always the plan to give him a break through the winter.
"We're going to Dundalk because there is nowhere else to go with him the way the ground is.
"The trip (an extended mile and a quarter) is probably a bit short for him, but we have to start him off somewhere and we'll see what happens."
Steps To Freedom still holds an entry in next month's Champion Hurdle and Harrington is not ruling out a trip to the Cheltenham Festival.
She said: "We'll see how he is and what the ground is like at Cheltenham."
Steps To Freedom is the highest-rated horse in a field of six, with Eddie Lynam's course specialist Akasaka the biggest danger on paper.