Last year’s winner Might Bite will face nine rivals in the 32Red King George VI Chase at Kempton.
Nicky Henderson’s charge is the favourite to successfully defend his crown in the Boxing Day showpiece, despite having something to prove after a disappointing reappearance in the Betfair Chase at Haydock.
The nine-year-old renews rivalry with the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained dual Betfair Chase winner Bristol De Mai, as well as Colin Tizzard’s Native River, who finished runner-up at Haydock having rounded off last season with a thrilling victory over Might Bite in the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Tizzard will also saddle Betfair Chase third and 2016 King George hero Thistlecrack.
Paul Nicholls has sent out a record nine previous winners of the King George – including the brilliant five-times victor Kauto Star – and fires a twin assault at this year’s renewal with Politologue and Clan Des Obeaux both in the mix.
Mark Bradstock’s 2015 Gold Cup winner Coneygree, last year’s runner-up Double Shuffle, trained by Tom George, the Jane Williams-trained Tea For Two and Ruth Jefferson’s stable star Waiting Patiently complete the field.
The only withdrawal was Gordon Elliott’s mare Shattered Love.