Dual King George VI Chase winner Clan Des Obeaux tops the 24 entries for the Boxing Day feature race with Paul Nicholls looking for his 12th victory in the Grade One at Kempton.
Last season he started his term off over in Northern Ireland in November with Nicholls sending him into the Grade One Champion Chase at Down Royal and he finished a smart second behind Road To Respect and it worked out to be the perfect prep run ahead of the King George VI.
However, this season he has chosen a different tactic with the Down Royal event already going ahead and the eight year old was not involved and he will now have his prep run in the Betfair Chase ahead of his hat-trick bid.
Nicholls has landed the King George with the likes of Kauto Star, Silviniaco Conti and obviously Clan Des Obeaux and he is hoping the latter can replicate his stars by going on to land it three years in a row.
The 11 time champion trainer is currently responsible for three other entries in the event with Charlie Hall Chase winner Cyrname in the mix having been favourite in the event last term and he is joined by Frodon and Real Steel who has moved to the Ditcheat yard from Willie Mullins.
Mullins could send over a strong team this year having been weak in the event for the last few years, but this could change with triple Grade One winner Kemboy set to be joined by stablemates Allaho and Melon that both placed over fences at the Cheltenham festival last term.
Other Irish trainers are looking to pose a strong challenge in the race at this stage of the declaration stage with Joseph O’Brien entering Fakir D’oudairies, Henry de Bromhead giving Monalee the option and Gordon Elliott possibly sending Ladbrokes Champion Chase winner The Storyteller to Kempton at Christmas.
Lostintranslation was poor the event for Colin Tizzard off the back of some superb runs and he is entered again this year and looks to be taking the same route on the way to the race by running in the Betfair Chase at Haydock before the Grade One.
Other leading hopes for the home team include Nicky Henderson’s RSA Chase winner Champ, the Philip Hobbs-trained two-mile star Defi Du Seuil and Vinndication from Kim Bailey’s yard.