Jedd O’Keeffe is hoping to see Sam Spinner show last season’s sparkle in the JLT Hurdle at Ascot on Saturday – in which 13 stand their ground.
The Middleham raider won the Grade One – registered as the Long Walk Hurdle – 12 months ago, but has been out of luck in three subsequent starts.
Sent off favourite at Cheltenham and Aintree, where he was beaten but not disgraced, the front-runner ran a lacklustre race on his return to action in the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury last month.
He eventually unseated Joe Colliver at the second-last, but looked held at the time.
“He seems great, he came out of Newbury well,” said O’Keeffe.
“I can’t say we weren’t a bit disappointed, not because he got beaten, not that he needed the race – he just lacked a bit of sparkle on the day.
“I don’t know if that was because he hadn’t raced for a while. He seems great now, and we’re happy with him, so we are going to go there and have a go.”
Nicky Henderson has left in Call Me Lord, Top Notch and Soul Emotion, winner of his two starts in England since arriving from France.
Harry Fry also has three options, If The Cap Fits, the mare Momella and Unowhatimeanharry.
Emma Lavelle’s Paisley Park will aim to follow in the footsteps of Sam Spinner, who won at Haydock before this race last season.
Agrapart, Garo De Juilley, The Mighty Don, West Approach and Younevercall complete the list.