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."
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