Grands Crus is 9-4 favourite with the sponsors after a field of 20 was declared for the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham on Saturday.
David Pipe's bold-jumping grey is on a retrieval mission in the first major handicap of the new National Hunt season.
He appeared to have the world at his feet when winning the Feltham Novices' Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day in a quicker time than Kauto Star's in the King George, but on his only subsequent run he finished an 18-length fourth to Bobs Worth in the RSA Chase at the Festival in March.
Grands Crus enjoyed a breeze up Pipe's gallops on Thursday morning and the trainer tweeted: "Gerry Supple worked Grands Crus this morning and he went well...he says only two sleepless nights left!"
With Paul Nicholls saddling Poquelin for the third year running it means Casey Top, Finger Onthe Pulse, Questions Answered and Gilbarry are running from out of the handicap. Henry Daly's Kingsmere, however, is running off his correct weight with just 10st.
The seven-year-old looked like playing a huge part in the finish of a hot novice chase at the last meeting as he was in front when he fell two out.
Daly said: "I honestly don't know if Kingsmere would have won, but he was running a very good race. You couldn't tell, but he would have definitely been there or thereabouts.
"He hasn't surprised me at all with his progress over fences. He has always shown plenty at home and has improved for a fence, which most of mine do. I'm not sure how much improvement he has in him, but we will find out. The trip and the ground should be fine for him and Sam Twiston-Davies rides."
Hunt Ball aims to continue his progression for his popular owner Anthony Knott and trainer Keiran Burke after rising 88lb in the ratings last season.
Nicholls also runs Grade One winner Al Ferof and Aerial, who finished fourth at a big price last year, while Nicky Henderson has a strong hand with last year's runner-up Quantitativeeasing, Nadiya De La Vega, Tanks For That and Triolo D'Alene all representing Seven Barrows.
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Wetherby goes Flat out
Divine Hymn in full cry for Dettori
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O'Meara mulling Force plans
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Winning return for Walsh
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Cannock chasing Richards riches
Godolphin duo bow out
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Eagle camp play waiting game
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O'Neill door always open for McCoy
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Knott appeal dismissed
Millman on weather watch
Marlowe lands Epsom Derby Trial
Bolger sights set on Guineas
Hannon outlines Lockinge options
Hannon preparing Classic charge
22 April 2015Irish Guineas target for Baciata
Gleneagles leads Guineas contenders
Strong support for Commonwealth Cup
No decision on Geraghty return
McCoy set for Box Office farewell
Thrilling Friday card at Sandown
Guineas ruled out for Sympathy
Sherman set for Chrome reunion
Riches and Cossack in Gold equation
Recovering McNamara optimistic
Fly and Jezki set for World battle
Cooper braced for 'emotional' day
Sprinter set for Sandown
Celebration favoured for God's Own
Chiang camp target Middleton return
Dettori booked for Marlowe mount
Geraghty closing in on comeback
Hannon has Great expectations
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21 April 2015Niven sweet on Cookie Ripon raid
Fly set to break new ground
Uranna sets sail for Punchestown
McCoy available for Gold runners
Toes points in right direction
Ascot not Newmarket for Ward pair
Maude hails departing McCoy
Options open for Gosden's Ball
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Kurland heads direct to Ascot
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