The last two winners, Sam Spinner and Unowhatimeanharry, are among a field of 11 declared for Saturday’s JLT Hurdle at Ascot.
Unowhatimeanharry lifted the prestigious Grade One prize, formerly known as the Long Walk, in 2016 but was only third behind Jedd O’Keeffe’s charge when sent off 6-4 favourite for 12 months ago.
However, the Harry Fry-trained 10-year-old returned to winning form in the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury last month when Sam Spinner – beaten at the time – unseated Joe Colliver at the second-last.
Fry took out his two other entries, If The Cap Fits and Momella, at the 48-hour final declaration stage.
Nicky Henderson has left in all his three – Call Me Lord, Soul Emotion and Top Notch.
An interesting contender is the Emma Lavelle-trained Paisley Park after he defied top weight in a stayers’ handicap hurdle at Haydock won by Sam Spinner the previous year.
Completing the line-up are Nick Williams’ Agrapart, Garo de Juilley for Sophie Leech, Nick Gifford’s The Mighty Don, the Colin Tizzard-trained West Approach and Younevercall from Kim Bailey’s stable.