Nicky Henderson’s Bobs Worth, winner of the Lexus 12 months ago, is on course to make his seasonal debut in the Grade One.
He is likely to clash with Lord Windermere, the reigning Gold Cup hero who made an encouraging reappearance over a trip short of his best in the John Durkan at Punchestown.
Bobs Worth’s partner Barry Geraghty admits it is not ideal heading into the race without the aid of a prep-run.
“He’s shaping up well,” said the jockey.“Ideally you’d have liked to have had a run under your belt but it wasn’t to be.”
Anther horse due to travel from England is Sam Winner, successful in both of his races this season.
“He’s on the fringe of Gold Cup class,” trainer Paul Nicholls said.
“The only thing is that he has to go left-handed, but that works for Leopardstown.”
Jonjo O’Neill’s Holywell is another who may make the journey across the Irish Sea. As well as Lord Windermere, the home defence is headed by Don Cossack, a revelation this season for Gordon Elliott.
Willie Mullins has left in Champagne Fever, but he is being aimed at the King George at Kempton.
The Closutton handler is instead likely to rely upon Boston Bob and On His Own.
Meanwhile everything is set for round six in the rivalry between Hurricane Fly and Jezki as the pair headline nine entries for the Ryanair Hurdle at Leopardstown on December 29.
Hurricane Fly, who has won this Grade One three times, currently leads three-two in their head-to-head clashes.
Despite having seemingly lost the initiative at the end of last season, when Jezki beat him at Cheltenham and at Punchestown, Willie Mullins’ 10-year-old was back on top in the Morgiana Hurdle last month.
“There is nothing to report on Hurricane Fly other than good work and he continues to please me,” said Mullins.
Mullins has also left in Faugheen, but he is poised to run at Kempton a few days earlier.