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."
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