Trainer Colin Tizzard is convinced his stable star Cue Card will stay the trip in the William Hill King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day.
Second to Sprinter Sacre in the Arkle at Cheltenham in the spring, the six-year-old returned to action with an emphatic win in the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter, but steps up to three miles for the first time in the big Christmas chasing test.
"We think he's as good as he's ever been. We've just got to keep him ticking over until Wednesday," said the Dorset trainer.
"Obviously we'll find out then if he gets the trip. It will be a test of stamina, no doubt. He's a Champion Bumper winner. I think he stays perfectly all right."
The Philip Hobbs-trained Captain Chris bids to improve on his third place 12 months ago and owner Diana Whateley's husband Graham would like to see dry weather.
"We've got our fingers crossed that the weather is kinder to us than it has been," he said.
"I've always liked the horse very much, as has Philip Hobbs and Richard Johnson so it will be interesting to see how he gets on. "If he runs as well as he did last time, we'll be very pleased."
The David Pipe-trained Grands Crus has the chance to get his career back on track following a wind operation after a couple of disappointing performances since he won the Feltham Novices' Chase so emphatically last year.
"I was never happy at Cheltenham (Paddy Power Gold Cup). I was always having to niggle him along and he was beaten by the second fence. He was a shadow of himself on the day, he didn't feel the same horse," said jockey Tom Scudamore.
"It's been frustrating to watch from the sidelines but hopefully we'll get the real Grands Crus back."
28 July 2014Quick picks off Galway rivals
Lion could roar in Champion Stakes
Time out for Carpenter
Beckett considers Gesture gameplan
PJA hits out at ERA Cosgrave case
Pitt ponders Sir Stewards' run
Bird in full flight for Nassau
Chopin team wait on softer ground
Beacon leads Hannon trio
Toormore on Goodwood mission
Options open for Approval
Star duo head Sussex field
Pallasator states case for Ebor
Custom a cut above
Harty doubles up in Galway feature
Munich Mission impossible
Jinx on a high in France
Cox plays it cool with Kodi
Girl given Lowther target
Burke looking to Curragh
Hanagan hails Taghrooda
Toormore drops in class for Lennox
27 July 2014Beacon shines over Molecomb rivals
Miss skips Galway for Goodwood
Tag crowned queen of Ascot
Muthmir delivers in Dash
Metal proves International star
Sheikh pounces for late score
Kingman poised for showdown
Kleo hits top gear for Cumani
Dettori strikes on Osaila
Bear grills Winkfield rivals
Yorkshire Oaks target for Volume
26 July 2014Taghrooda queen of Ascot
Elleval bids for Pomfret prize
Noble primed for German mission
O'Meara duo going International
Tag team happy to have a go
Telescope reaches for stars
Euro chasing dollar signs
Estimate given Goodwood entry
Pique Sous out for season
Secret chasing York success
Reason aiming to deliver in Dash
Remote on comeback trail
25 July 2014Hughes misses Newmarket rides
Bill seeks International acclaim
Tag team have a crack at George
Telescope has record in sights
Nicholls pays tribute to Business
Flintshire misses George date
Hills reveals positive test horse
Kennedy floored on Leopardstown bow
Candy sweet on hot-shot Alonsoa
Big guns in Irish Champion frame
Farraaj sidesteps York return
Classy entries for Champagne
Stars align for Sussex showdown
Kiyoshi dips in grade for Valiant
Gosden waits on Eagle call
Horsted heads International runners