Big Buck's will have just three rivals as he seeks to win the Sportingbet Long Distance Hurdle for the fourth year running at Newbury on Saturday.
Paul Nicholls's brilliant stayer is unbeaten in 17 races since he returned to hurdles after unseating Sam Thomas in the Hennessy at the Berkshire track in 2008.
Big Buck's stablemate Five Dream, who took the runner-up spot 12 months ago, tries again, while the Emma Lavelle-trained Fox Appeal and Reve De Sivola from Nick Williams' stable are the only other ones taking on the champion staying hurdler.
Andy Stewart, owner of Big Buck's, cannot wait to see his superstar back in action.
"We're looking forward to it. Ruby (Walsh) tells me he's never been better and Paul (Nicholls) tells me he's never been better, so there'll be no excuses," he said.
"The ground will be heavy and horrible after a couple of nights of frost, but we'll have to live with that. I don't know if there'll be much pace on, either, but I'd imagine Five Dream might go a good pace for the first two miles.
"As long as he doesn't fluff his lines on Saturday he'll be going back to Ascot for the Long Walk."
Reve De Sivola has been sidelined by injury since finishing third to The Minack over fences at Ascot last December.
"He's come back from a leg injury. We hope he's recovered well. We'd have the injury monitored closely with the vet and he's ready to go," owner Paul Duffy said of the Nick Williams-trained seven-year-old.
"We thought this would give him an introduction back. He'll be trying, but obviously there is one horse in there (Big Buck's) and then the rest. Realistically, if he runs into a place we'll be very happy."
29 September 2016Persuasive options open as connections opt to miss Sun Chariot
Review leads to major shake-up in BHA disciplinary procedures
Airlie Beach bids to continue unbeaten run at Gowran Park
G Force swerves Ascot weekend run to wait for Curragh
Quest For More leads British Cadran challenge
Postponed heads 16 runners remaining in Arc reckoning
Alice Springs leads nine in Sun Chariot test
Elliott pleased to welcome new Gigginstown recruits following Mullins split
Don Cossack set to return to Gordon Elliott as he continues recovery
Marco Botti mapping out Easter Classic defence for Grendisar
David Menuisier planning double assault on Old Rowley Cup
Jack Hobbs enjoys racecourse gallop at Kempton
Willie Mullins and Gigginstown House in split, Gordon Elliott to train Don Poli
Air Force Blue retired to stud in America
Lightning Spear in 'top form' for QEII challenge
Hughie Morrison lines up three-pronged attack on Cesarewitch
Five Gigginstown stars Willie Mullins will miss
Mecca's Angel heads British possibles for Abbaye test
Almanzor taken out of Arc reckoning
28 September 2016Make Time makes case for Racing Post Trophy tilt
Ebor hero Heartbreak City set for Melbourne Cup bid
Five high-profile splits in the racing world
Gigginstown House Stud horses leave Willie Mullins in split over training fees
Willie Mullins announces Gigginstown House Stud split
JP McManus pair in the frame for Tipperary test
'I lost over £1million - and just in one race. I was winning going to the last'
'All systems go' for Harzand as Arc raid takes shape for Dermot Weld
Nicky Henderson takes the long road to Tipperary with Hargam
Charlie Fellowes pulls off Fairyhouse coup with big gamble Moonlit Show
Fair Eva conqueror Spain Burg to go under the hammer
Adrian Keatley checks in for Concorde Stakes with Jet Setting
Jim Bolger to resist Dollar cash with Dundalk-bound Qatari Hunter
Minor setback forces Magical Memory into early winter break
Ascot still top of Almanzor agenda despite featuring in Arc field
Trip To Paris in contention for Cadran outing at Chantilly
27 September 2016Brian Meehan plays waiting game with Cambridgeshire hero Spark Plug
Dandy Nicholls leaning towards Ascot with white-hot sprinter Kimberella
Frankie Dettori hunting Arc mount after Fascinating Rock is ruled out
'He was nearly picking them up and putting them over the line'
Waterlogging claims Ayr card
Scrutineer floors Danzeno in Hamilton feature
Marracudja gets Paul Nicholls and Ditcheat Thorougbreds off to winning start
Long Distance Cup remains on the agenda for Forgotten Rules
Munster National to honour memory of JT McNamara
Shalaa pencilled in for weekend return at Ascot
'Magnificent Seven' heaven sent for proud Frankie Dettori
Henry Candy sets sights on Chantilly with Limato
Alice Springs and Persuasive in line for rematch in Sun Chariot at Newmarket
Christophe Soumillon receives Silverwave Arc call-up at Chantilly
26 September 2016Precautionary inspection called for Ayr Tuesday card
Colin Tizzard delight at arrival of horses for Alan and Ann Potts
Only Mine signed off for the season by Joe Murphy
Charlie Fellowes hopes Moonlit Show can shine at Fairyhouse
Jarlath Fahey to delay Cesarewitch call with Jennies Jewel
Willie Mullins wants swift resolution to Faugheen 'investigation'
Salisbury Wednesday fixture loses one-mile race
Hamilton Monday card gets go-ahead
Setback rules La Cressonniere out of Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe
Dermot Weld has Tuesday workout plans for Arc hope Harzand
Jim Bolger has Gold Cup dreams for Twilight Payment after Loughbrown Stakes
Aidan O'Brien lines up three-pronged attack on Arc
Capri continues Beresford Stakes domination for Aidan O'Brien
Happy days for Aidan O'Brien in Renaissance Stakes
Classic-winning trainer Tommy Stack to retire at the end of the year
Eziyra puts Classic claims with Curragh success
Wesley Ward finds possible reason for Lady Aurelia Newmarket reverse