Ok Corral and Cabaret Queen feature in a maximum field of 24 runners for the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury on Saturday.
Nicky Henderson has saddled three previous winners of the prestigious handicap chase, formerly known as the Hennessy Gold Cup, with Trabolgan (2005), Bobs Worth (2012) and Triolo D’Alene (2013) all on the roll of honour.
This year’s Seven Barrows squad is headed by ante-post favourite Ok Corral, who won twice as a novice over fences last season, but was pulled up on his most recent appearance in the National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in March.
Henderson also saddles Beware The Bear, Brave Eagle and On The Blind Side.
Having seen Be My Royal disqualified after passing the post in front in 2002, Willie Mullins belatedly claimed his first Ladbrokes Trophy with Total Recall in 2017 – and this year fires a twin assault.
Like Total Recall, Cabaret Queen warmed up for Newbury with a dominant victory in the Munster National at Limerick and is strongly fancied by many to follow up in the hands of Paul Townend.
She is joined by her troublesome but talented stablemate Yorkhill, while Gordon Elliott’s Galway Plate hero Borice is a third major challenger from Ireland.
Colin Tizzard, who has saddled two of the last three winners in Native River (2016) and Sizing Tennessee (2018), is represented by top-weight Elegant Escape, Robinsfirth, Mister Malarkey and recent Cheltenham scorer West Approach.
De Rasher Counter is a leading contender for Emma Lavelle, having blown away any cobwebs with a comeback run over hurdles at Uttoxeter.
“He’s got an interesting profile for the race – he’s won around Newbury and he’s an improving second-season novice,” Lavelle told Sky Sports Racing.
“He had a prep run around Uttoxeter, where he definitely blew up.
“He’s improved out of all recognition since then.”
Other hopefuls include Alan King’s Dingo Dollar and the Dan Skelton-trained Two Taffs, while Bennys King is a reserve runner for the race.