A jam-packed high-class quality field of 23 have been declared at the first stage, ahead of the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury on Saturday.
Formerly known as the Hennessy Gold Cup, the Ladbrokes Trophy is a Grade 3 Handicap Steeplechase over 3miles and furlong, and has been a great avenue for many future Grade 1 victors in the staying division.
Don Poli - a horse who has certainly been through it all currently heads the weights under 11st12, but the focus is very much on the lesser and younger experienced horses, who are looking to stamp their authority, with a view to stepping up in Grade in time for the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March.
Elegant Escape fired his name into the hat, after winning on his reappearance last month at Sandown, in the Listed Future Stars Intermediate Chase. He overcame the Tom Lacey-trained Thomas Patrick, who lines up against him once again, and will be out to seek revenge.
Britain will also hold key chances with a pair of 7yo's, starting with Anthony Honeyball's Ms Parfois - who was ever so consistent last year, finishing second in the Four Miler at the Festival, as well as Paul Nicholls' Black Corton, who overcame an early error to finish second on his return in the Charlie Hall, in his first start outside novice company.
Ireland took the race last year with the Willie Mullins-trained Total Recall - the first time they had won it for almost forty years. He will be looking for an unlikely double, meaning their best chance could lie with stable companion Kemboy. Having won a Grade A Handicap Chase at Punchestown back in April, he returned to win well in the Grade 2 Clonmel Oil Chase a fortnight ago, a victory which has resulted in a penalty here.
He looks a handsome prospect for the Champion Trainer, who also has Al Boum Photo - who if can avoid traffic should be in contention, along with Up For Review, Isleofhopendreams, Invitation Only and Rathvinden who complete the Mullins battalion.
Alan King is represented with Dingo Dollar, Harry Fry sends American to Newbury to try get his career back on track, whilst Nicky Henderson has Beware The Bear, who last won on this weekend twelve months ago.
Currently, nine horses have gone onto with the Cheltenham Friday showpiece at the Festival; the most recent of these being the Colin Tizzard-trained Native River earlier this year.
Oliver Sherwood's fan favourite Many Clouds, also became the first horse to win both the Hennessy Gold Cup (as it was then) and the Grand National, back in 2014 and 2015 respectively.
This year's renewal is sure to be a classic.