Dual winner Cue Card and 2015 Gold Cup hero Coneygree are the star names among 22 entries for the Betfair Chase at Haydock on November 19.
Colin Tizzard’s Cue Card met with defeat on his seasonal comeback at Wetherby on Saturday but remains 15-8 favourite with the sponsors to win the first leg of the £1million Triple Crown which he came so close to landing last season.
The Mark Bradstock-trained Coneygree has only been seen once since his famous Cheltenham win, while the first four home from the Charlie Hall at the weekend are all engaged, with winner Irish Cavalier, runner-up Menorah and fourth Blaklion in contention to join Cue Card.
Silviniaco Conti, the 2014 victor, has the option again. He is due to reappear at Down Royal this weekend for Paul Nicholls, who has also entered Le Mercurey, Saphir Du Rheu, Vibrato Valtat and Vicente.
Willie Mullins will not be represented, but three of his former inmates have the option. Don Poli, Outlander and Roi Des Francs, all owned by Gigginstown House Stud and now with Gordon Elliott, have been entered.
Another possible in a race yet to be won by a horse based in Ireland is Stuart Crawford’s Fine Rightly.
Crawford said: “Fine Rightly was meant to run this weekend at Down Royal but the ground is going to be too quick for him.
“He wants plenty of cut and so really the Betfair Chase looks the next logical target.
“He stepped up last season because I put him in a better type of race and hopefully he can continue to improve. With a bit of luck, I am hoping we can go close to winning a Grade One with him.
“Haydock looks a good target because the track and ground will hopefully be in his favour. Although he won twice going right-handed in the spring, he is probably better going the other way. He will put up a good show if he gets his ground.”
There is a French entrant in Emmanuel Clayeux’s Vezelay and David Pipe can call on Ballynagour, Dynaste and Un Temps Pour Tout.
Jonjo O’Neill’s pair of More Of That and Hollywell, Tom George’s God’s Own and impressive Carlisle scorer Seeyouatmidnight complete the list.
A notable absentee is Nigel Twiston-Davies’ Bristol De Mai, who was beaten by Seeyouatmidnight on Sunday.