Saved over from Ascot’s abandoned meeting on December 18, the race has been sponsored by the owner of Big Buck’s, Andy Stewart and his family.
Paul Nicholls’ hurdler is unbeaten since reverting to the smaller obstacles nearly two years ago and won the corresponding race 12 months ago.
Duc De Regniere, who chased home Big Buck’s in the Long Distance Hurdle last time out, could be the one to chase him home again.
Robin Dickin’s Restless Harry, a smart novice last season, will need to bounce back from a lacklustre display behind Karabak in the Relkeel Hurdle but he had earlier run well behind Silviniaco Conti at Ascot.
David Pipe’s veteran Lough Derg, Nigel Twiston-Davies’ Kayf Aramis and Neil King’s Afsoun complete the line up.