With the Willie Mullins-trained Kemboy unable to make the journey from Ireland due to adverse weather conditions, it leaves a field of 13 - the smallest field for the race this century, to go for the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury on Saturday. Less on quantity does not result in lack of quality, as the likes of Elegant Escape, Thomas Patrick and Ms Parfois all go for the Grade 3 feature.
The first thing to consider is age, and experience. 14 of the last 15 winners have been aged eight or younger, with 11 of those being six or seven. You have to go all the way back to 1981 to find a winner aged 10 or older.
13 of the last 15 winners had won a chase race over at least 3m before, with one less having had a run at Newbury - eight of which over fences. 11 of the last 15 winners had won a Grade 3 or better class chase race before coming here, with two less having had a prep run in the same season, with the same number winning last time out.
Like any handicap, the weight carried by the horses is of high importance. An incredible stat shows that exactly half of the winners since 1957 - since the race's inauguration, have carried either side of 11st. However, 11 of the last 15 winners have carried 11st or more, suggesting in recent times, a better class of horse has been winning this race. Denman incredibly carried 11st12 twice to victory in this race, proving it can be done.
Paul Nicholls historically has a good record in the race, training three winners in the past fifteen years, with Nicky Henderson training two winners - both coming in the last five years.
Betting wise, a third of favourites have won in the last fifteen renewals, with twelve winners in total returning at 10/1 or shorter in the betting. This year, we will probably not know who is going to be sent off the market leader until the flag falls, as a number of horses are currently vying for favouritism.
Eight of the last ten winners were officially rated 147 or higher.