Big Buck’s will face six rivals in his bid to land back-to-back victories in the BGC Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot on Saturday.
Andy Stewart’s champion stayer took the race last December when it was switched to Newbury after Ascot was lost to the snow.
The Paul Nicholls-trained seven-year-old is undefeated in nine starts over the smaller obstacles since unseating his rider in the Hennessy Gold Cup in November 2008.
As expected, Nicholls has taken out the Stewart-owned Celestial Halo.
Nicky Henderson is represented by Duc De Regniere, who was beaten three lengths into second place by Big Buck’s in the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury last month.
The David Pipe-trained Lough Derg, winner of this race in 2007, will be making his fifth successive appearance.
The 10-year-old was second in 2006, sixth in 2008 and fell last year.
Others taking on Big Buck’s are Neil King’s Afsoun, the Howard Johnson-trained Arcalis, Nigel Twiston-Davies’ Kayf Aramis and Restless Harry from Robin Dickin’s stable.