The Betfair Chase has been left with 11 entries for the contest at Haydock in a few weeks and Nicky Henderson's Altior is a shock inclusion at this stage.
Altior is unbeaten in 19 starts over jumps and trainer Nicky Henderson has already said he will be stepping the dual Queen Mother Champion Chase hero up in trip this season.
Although it is considered unlikely he will make an appearance on Merseyside in the Betfair Chase it is surprising to still see him included in the Grade One contest with a race at Ascot on the cards instead.
A horse that is certain to be in the contest is Bristol De Mai for Nigel Twiston-Davies with the dual consecutive winner of the race looking to make it three in a row at Haydock on November 23rd.
Horses in the past that have gone on to complete the hat-trick in the race include the mighty Cue Card between 2013 and 2016 and before that the super Kauto Star landed the contest four times between 2006 and 2011.
(Credit At The Races) Twiston-Davies said: “Bristol De Mai is in good form. Everything is fine with him and we decided to head straight for Haydock.
“We did it last year and it worked well, so hopefully things can go well again this time around.
“He had a great season last term and we were delighted with his third in the Gold Cup. Hopefully, he can continue improving this term.”
Bristol De Mai could be joined by his Charlie Hall Chase-winning stablemate Ballyoptic.
“Ballyoptic has come out of the Charlie Hall fine. We were always going to enter him in the Betfair Chase after that victory and he could also run,” the Naunton handler added.
Others still entered into the contest are the forgotten Might Bite and Valtor for Nicky Henderson, Henry de Bromhead’s Balko Des Flos and the Noel Meade-trained Tout Est Permis, who both carry the colours of Gigginstown House Stud.
Paul Nicholls still holds a good hand in the contest he has won six times with the ever loved Black Corton and Cheltenham festival Ryanair Chase winner Frodon.
The final runners to make up the current 11 strong field are both for Colin Tizzard with Welsh Grand National winner Elegant Escape and current Gold Cup fancy for many Lostintranslation.