Jessica Harrington’s warrior has landed this contest, newly upgraded to Grade One status, for the last two years.
He will be harder to beat than ever, having recently become Europe’s highest-rated chaser after his defeat of Azertyuiop in the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown.
However, all his opponents in the two-mile-one-furlong affair are of a creditable standard.
They are recent Hilly Way Chase first, second and fourth Rathgar Beau, Central House and Native Scout, along with Glenelly Gale and the veteran Native Upmanship.
Joly Bey was missing from the entries for the valuable Paddy Power Chase on the same afternoon, with Nick Gifford instead eyeing the Unicoin Homes Chase at Cheltenham a few days later.
“There has been no problem with him, he is in great form,” he said.
“We thought long and hard about it, but the ground is not going to suit him, and we are going to enter him at Cheltenham on January 1 instead.”
A field of 43 stand in the three-mile contest, won last year by Jonjo O’Neill’s World Wide Web, but there are no British entries this time around.
The weights are jointly headed by the Paul Nolan-trained Colnel Rayburn and Garvivonnian, representing Edward Mitchell.
Like-A-Butterfly is among the entries for the Durkan New Homes Novice Chase on St Stephen’s Day and Christy Roche’s popular mare could face some of Ireland’s best two-mile novices in the Grade One contest.
Having won the 2003 Irish Champion Hurdle as part of an exceptional career over timber, the 10-year-old returned from over a year and a half off the track to win impressively first time out over fences at Naas last month.
A more surprising entry for the valuable contest is another Irish Champion Hurdle winner, Edward O’Grady’s 2002 victor Ned Kelly, who has not raced for over two years.
Of those with chase form, the Noel Meade-trained Sir Oj has looked right up with the best on his three runs to date and could again lock horns with Mariah Rollins, who would have got closer to him but for a mistake at the final fence in last month’s Craddockstown Chase.
Completing the field of 11 are Tom O’Leary’s Newmill, who was impressive at Clonmel recently, along with Aye Aye Popeye, Guilt, Healy’s Pub, Kahuna, Steel Band and Tiger Cry.
Cashmans bet: The Power Chase - 8/1 Keepatem, Jacquoille, Colnel Rayburn, 10/1 Jack High, 12/1 Joly Bay, Aimees Mark.
Lexus Chase - Dec 28: 4/9 Best Mate, 3/1 Beef Or Salmon, 12/1 Keen Leader, Pizaro, 25/1 Cloudy Bays.
Festival Hurdle - Dec 29: 2/1 Hardy Eustace, 11/4 Solerina, Brave Inca, 9/2 Macs Joy, 10/1 Power Elite, 14/1 Georges Girl.