Eight runners were declared for the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot on Saturday after Big Buck's was the only defection at the 48-hour final declaration stage.
A wide-open race for the three-mile-one-furlong Grade One is on the cards after the brilliant stayer, winner of this race for the last three years, was ruled out through injury.
Paul Nicholls, the trainer of Big Buck's, could still take the honours with either Prospect Wells or Five Dream, while Nick Williams saddles Reve De Sivola, who stuck on well in the closing stages to finish second behind Big Buck's in the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury on his first run for almost a year.
Trustan Times is an interesting contender after defying top weight of 11st 12lb in the "Fixed Brush" Handicap Hurdle at Haydock for North Yorkshire trainer Tim Easterby.
Alan King is represented by Smad Place while Nicky Henderson is double-handed with Master Of The Hall and Cucumber Run. The Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained Kayf Aramis completes the field.
Conditions at Ascot are certain to be testing for the two-day fixture culminating in Saturday's card featuring the Long Walk Hurdle and The Ladbroke.
The course is currently raceable but Stickels has not ruled out the possibility of calling a precautionary inspection at some stage.
"We've had 28 millimetres of rain and the going is heavy, soft in places," clerk of the course Chris Stickels told At The Races.
"At the moment we are OK and coping with what we've got. At the moment we are quite happy and will monitor it as the day goes on. Potentially we could get seven up to nine millimetres maybe.
"If we do get that we may have to call a precautionary inspection, but at the moment it's taking it.
27 May 2015Raydara in season during Guineas
Life's a Beach for Levins
Ervedya given Royal approval
Haggas on War footing for Ascot
Oaks trip to suit Legatissimo
Coronation up Dolniya's street
Ribbons may cut a dash to Curragh
Gosden duo at ease for Brigadier
Derby duo gives Gosden glee
Found remains in Derby hat
Park satisfies in Epsom spin
26 May 2015Double sets welcome mark for Gask
Rain would boost Sand Ascot dream
Karaktar on track for French Derby
Punters' Pal Set For Musselburgh
Simenon bids for Henry II rule
Angel of the north has Royal aim
Treve delights Head-Maarek
Epicuris heads to Epsom
Fire lit up for Redcar gold run
Park set for Epsom 'sighter'
Karpino oozes class in Cologne
Limato set for Haydock weekend run
Moviesta pleases in Curragh spin
Leisure date for Lucky
Prince to step up
Cirrus likely to bypass Epsom
Ascot option for Devonshire
25 May 2015Limato set for Haydock weekend run
French ace Chop in line for Ascot
Pretty target for Tamadhor
Prolific Robin in foal
Ramone delights Farrell
Moore set for Shamal ride
O'Brien still has Derby puzzle
Air Force has lift-off on debut
Guineas glory for Pleascach
More Curragh Gold for Kazeem
Curvy holds off Canaletto
Super Solow takes Longchamp prize
Varian pleased by Belardo effort
Dirty scope blamed for Byron run
Ascot test for Time
24 May 2015Full steam ahead for Mast return
Mustajeeb sprints to it
Pearl's a sprint jewel for Barron
Tate springs Listed surprise
First Ascot chance for Crisford
Glen best miler we've had - O'Brien
Exciting options for Simcock ace
Muta grabs Bowl with late charge
No decision on replacement - McCoy
Harrington bids for Guineas glory