McCain has never made any secret of the fact that he believes the six-year-old is the best horse he has ever trained and his course record gives that theory plenty of weight.
Brilliant in bumpers and as a novice hurdler, the gelding bridged the gap into open company by defeating reigning champion hurdler Binocular in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newbury on his seasonal reappearance in November.
Today’s race is due to be his final start before a crack at the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham in March and his trainer is praying everything goes according to plan.
Asked if he was looking forward to the race, McCain replied: “No, not really!
“Everything is grand with him and we’ve had no problems at all since the Fighting Fifth.
“We just want to get the race on, get it out of the way and see what happens then.
“It looks a good opportunity for him, obviously. We’ve got to give weight away, but it goes without saying you’d like to think he could.
“I think the ground is going to ride a bit dead, but it should be fine for him. We’ll just keep our fingers crossed.”
Meanwhile, Paul Nicholls is confident his dual Champion Chase hero Master Minded remains at the peak of his powers ahead of today’s Victor Chandler Chase at Ascot .
A wind operation in the summer appears to have turned the eight-year-old’s career around judged on his victory in the Amlin 1965 Chase at this track and latterly in the rearranged Tingle Creek at Cheltenham.
“He’s in good form and I’m very happy with him,” said the champion trainer.
“The signs have been good this season at home and in his two runs, so hopefully he’s somewhere near his best.”