Altior, Chacun Pour Soi and Defi Du Seuil remain on course for a fascinating clash at the Cheltenham Festival on Wednesday, after the trio featured among 11 horses confirmed for the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase.
The Nicky Henderson-trained Altior is bidding to become only the second three-time winner of the two-mile showpiece, after Badsworth Boy racked up a hat-trick in the 1980s.
However, despite having suffered just one defeat in 21 starts over jumps, the 10-year-old is unlikely to have things all his own way on his return to the Cotswolds, with two formidable rivals taking him on.
Defi Du Seuil has been the star of the division in Britain so far this term, winning each of his three starts for trainer Philip Hobbs and owner JP McManus, including the Tingle Creek at Sandown and the Clarence House at Ascot.
The lightly-raced Chacun Pour Soi beat Defi Du Seuil at the Punchestown Festival – and while he suffered a surprise defeat on his return to action at Leopardstown at Christmas, he bounced back to winning ways at the Dublin Racing Festival.
The eight-year-old is out to provide Willie Mullins with his first Champion Chase success.
The Cullentra handler has also confirmed Min, but he is more likely to run in the Ryanair Chase the following afternoon, as is Henry de Bromhead’s A Plus Tard, who was too strong for Chacun Pour Soi over the festive period.
Paul Nicholls is set to saddle last year’s runner-up Politologue and Dynamite Dollars, while last year’s third Sceau Royal is in the mix for Alan King.
Bun Doran (Tom George), Hell’s Kitchen (Harry Fry) and the admirable mare Lady Buttons (Phil Kirby) are the other hopefuls.