Tracey Collins reports her stable stalwart Captain Joy in rude health ahead of the Become The Face Of BetVictor Race at Dundalk.
The 10-year-old has won 10 of his 23 starts on the all-weather, including this event a year ago.
The one-mile contest is the first Irish Fast-Track Qualifier of the 2018/19 All-Weather Championships, with the winner guaranteed a free start in the £150,000 Sun Racing All-Weather Mile Championship at Lingfield on Good Friday.
Captain Joy plundered the biggest prize of his career when successful in the 2016 All-Weather Mile, while also finishing third in 2015 and sixth last year.
The 10-year-old grey would be poignant winner on Friday, following the death of his owner Herb Stanley on January 3 at the age of 81.
Collins said: “Captain Joy seems very well and has a good draw in stall one.
“He is getting that bit older now so we will see what happens. If he runs well, we will make a decision about whether we continue or he retires.
“This will definitely be his last year, so depending on how he runs, we will make up our minds about which way we are going.
“Mr (Herb) Stanley (owner) was buried on Monday so it has been a sad week.
“Hopefully, the horse can put up a good performance and it would be great if he can get his head in front.”
Captain Joy’s rivals include Theobald, who bids to enhance an impressive record at the track.
Jim Bolger’s charge has a 50 per cent strike rate at the track having won twice from four visits to the Louth venue.
He was third on his most recent run on the Polytrack, finishing behind King’s Field in a hot handicap over a mile last month.
The son of Teofilo is top-rated in this seven-runner conditions event with an official mark of 97.
Course regular Geological steps back up in trip, but looks to have a few pounds to find at the weights.
Another highly rated runner, Yuften, bids for back-to-back claiming wins earlier on the card.
The Invincible Spirit gelding showed that he still retains plenty of his old ability when running out an easy winner of a similar contest on his first outing for John Feane back in November.
He didn’t need to run up to his official mark of 95 to score last time and it looks a similar story now in the Lucky Number 26 @Ace Casino Kildare Town Claiming Race.
Four-time course winner Too Precious takes a big step up in trip in the two-mile handicap later on the card.
Joseph O’Brien’s charge has gone up 32lb since opening her account at the track in November.
She failed to make an impression when fifth behind runaway winner Commander Won over 10 furlongs here last month and it’s an interesting move to try this marathon trip now.
Stablemate Shadow Seven makes the same move up in distance, having scored over 10 furlongs and a mile and a half at the track in November.