Formerly trained by Alan King, the JP McManus-owned Winter Escape joined Aidan Howard's yard last year and the change of scenery appears to have had the desired effect.
After a second placed effort on his chasing debut and his first start for his new trainer at the Galway Festival last summer, Winter Escape went one better at the same track in September and followed up with an impressive Grade 3 success at Cork in early November.
Considered a Champion Hurdle prospect once upon on a time, Winter Escape fizzes in over fences at @Galway_Races on his second start since a switch to trainer Aidan Howard... pic.twitter.com/KbiLhgKcti— At The Races (@AtTheRaces) September 17, 2018
He carries a penalty as he goes in search of back-to-back Grade Three wins this weekend in the Total Event Rental Novice Chase at Punchestown.
Howard said: "He's in good form and we're hoping for a good run.
"We didn't go to the Drinmore in Fairyhouse because the ground wasn't suitable and we also missed a race at Naas, but I think we have to go on Sunday really if we're going to go for the race in Leopardstown (Flogas Novice Chase) next month.
"A bit of rain would definitely help, but we're happy with him and we'll see how he goes."
Winter Escape heads a nine-strong field for the two-and-a-half-mile contest.
Gordon Elliott holds a strong hand going into the feature contest with Ben Dundee, Blow By Blow, Gun Digger, Poli Roi and Cubomania all in the final field, although the latter was also declared for Saturday's Dan Moore Memorial Chase at Fairyhouse.
Henry de Bromhead is looking forward to saddling A Plus Tard after he opened his account over fences in impressive style at Naas last month.
De Bromhead said: "He's in good shape, everything has gone well since Naas and this race has been his aim since then.
"He is only five so hopefully there is more to come from him and we're looking forward to seeing how he gets on at this level.
"His run here should tell us what direction we should be taking with him over the next couple of months."
Find out more ahead of Sunday's (Grade 3) Total Event Rental Novice Chase at Punchestown here