And while the £125,000 (€170,000) Grade One contest may be thin on numbers, there is no debating the quality of performer it has attracted, with two former Queen Mother Champion Chase winners and last year’s Arkle hero all in the mix.
Sprinter Sacre, who won the rearranged running at Cheltenham in 2013, is a possible. He used this event to return to action last season after his long lay-off and was second to subsequent Queen Mother winner Dodging Bullets.
Nicky Henderson’s pride and joy won for the second time this season over Christmas, beating another former champion Sire De Grugy, and the two could clash again.
Henderson could also run long-absent Captain Conan.
Sire De Grugy’s trainer Gary Moore feels the result at Kempton could have been different if his charge had jumped the last cleanly. “If he hadn’t got in tight to the last it probably would have been a different result,” said Moore.
“He’ll come on again for that run, I’m sure, he improves with racing. He’s all set for the Clarence House.
“It can’t be soft enough for him so I hope it carries on raining.
“When we had Sprinter Sacre off the bridle I thought we had him beaten because all his winning had been done on the bridle.
“Fair play to him, though, as he showed he can also battle to win.”
Moore has also entered Traffic Fluide, a smart novice last term.
Willie Mullins’ Arkle winner Un De Sceaux is another with the Ascot option.
He was due to run in the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown last month, but missed that and fell on his reappearance when odd-on favourite at Leopardstown. Mullins has also entered Felix Yonger.
Vibrato Valtat and Simply Ned, certainly no back-numbers, are the other two possibles.