Flemenstar and Sir Des Champs are the star names among nine runners in a fantastic renewal of the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown on Friday.
Flemenstar was one of Ireland's leading novice chasers last term and has carried on his progression this season. He made a winning return over two miles before slamming previously unbeaten chaser Sir Des Champs in the two-and-a-half-mile John Durkan Memorial Punchestown Chase.
The pair lock horns again in the feature event of the Christmas Festival, but this time the distance is three miles, which is further than Flemenstar has gone before under Rules.
Trainer Peter Casey said: "He's all ready to go. Everything is grand. He did a nice bit of work the other day. This is his big test and at quarter past three (on Friday) we'll know a lot more about where we're going. I think there is a lot of rain coming in, but I'm not worried about that - the ground makes no difference to him.
"At the moment I'm not worrying about any of the other horses in the race. I'm very happy with our horse and you've just got to go and take your chance. We'll either come home disappointed or delighted."
Andrew Lynch has been ever present in the saddle during Flemenstar's career over fences, and said: "I gave him a breeze the other day and he seems in good form. With the trip you never know for sure until you try, but he gives you every impression he'll stay.
"It's a very good race. First Lieutenant, Sir Des Champs, Tidal Bay, Quito De La Roque - they are all good horses. We'll decide what way we'll ride him nearer the time, but he's a very straightforward horse to ride."
Tidal Bay appears as good as ever this season, despite officially turning 12 next week. After making a winning return to action over hurdles at Wetherby, he ran a superb race to finish second behind Bobs Worth under top weight in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury.
The Paul Nicholls-trained veteran is joined on the trip from Britain by Neil Mulholland's stable star Midnight Chase, while Mouse Morris saddles Hennessy third First Lieutenant and China Rock, the latter making his first appearance since winning the Punchestown Gold Cup in the spring.
Shark Hanlon's progressive Hidden Cyclone adds further strength in depth. Pandorama has his first start since the 2011 Cheltenham Gold Cup, while Quito De La Roque completes the stellar field.
31 May 2016First juvenile success of 2016 for Michael Bell as Cheval Blanche wins at Redcar
Ground eases at Epsom ahead of Derby Festival
Jockey Philip Donovan none the worse following dramatic incident at Towcester
Leicester abandoned due to safety concerns
Marco Botti aims for Nottinghamshire Oaks gold with Sound Of Freedom
Team Valor snap up Thora Barber ahead of Chesham Stakes tilt at Royal Ascot
Holler to take Diamond Jubilee test at Royal Ascot
American sprinter Drafted added to Godolphin's Royal Ascot team
Joseph O'Brien set to saddle first runners next week
Goldream and Move In Time in contention for Prix du Gros-Chene at Chantilly
William Haggas keeping Ascot options open for Sky Kingdom
James Tate maps out handicap plan for Mukaabra
Aidan O'Brien leaves 10 in contention for French Derby glory
William Haggas considering Ribblesdale run with Daphne
Mark Bolger ready for action despite needing stitches in arm injury
Revolutionist strikes Redcar Gold for Mark Johnston
Aidan O'Brien plays waiting game with Epsom Derby septet
Royal Ascot the sole focus for Peter Niven and Clever Cookie
Found and Postponed confirmed for Coronation Cup at Epsom
Peter Chapple-Hyam planning trip increase for Marcel
Sammy Jo Bell begins recovery after leaving hospital
Devonshire team wait on Ascot ground before considering Royal option
Hugo Palmer savouring Classic challenge for Galileo Gold at Ascot
Ascot next on Psychedelic Funk agenda after missing Naas date
30 May 2016Haydock scorer Plata O Plomo to go under the hammer
Four added to Derby field with 18 horses still in the mix for Epsom Classic
Manatee enters Gold Cup frame following French third
Michelle Payne facing crucial period in injury recovery
Only Mine blows Lacken Stakes rivals away at Naas
Speedy Boarding gives James Fanshawe a lift-off in France
Aidan O'Brien happy with Minding after Irish Guineas mishap
No collaring Cuff as Aidan O'Brien's filly too strong for Naas rivals
Peace Envoy returns to winning ways in Rochestown Stakes
Anamba makes up for lost time with stylish win at Naas
Red Verdon set to be supplemented for the Derby at Epsom
David Barron has Pearl primed for Royal Ascot assignment
High hopes for Ribblesdale runner Chicadoro
29 May 2016Blue De Vega to take Tercentenary test at Royal Ascot
Martyn Meade mulling Belmont outing for Irish Rookie
David Griffiths expecting bold Ascot show from Take Cover
Tepin team confirm Royal Ascot is still the plan for star mare
Adrian Nicholls denied farewell ride due to Catterick ground
Grizzel books Ascot ticket with Beverley glory
Ger O'Neill taken to hospital following Beverley fall
Quiet Reflection makes memorable Haydock impression in Sandy Lane
Home Of The Brave takes Jury verdict at Haydock
Ice Slice too sharp for Clotilde at Haydock
Journey goes the distance for Gosden and Dettori at Haydock
Ger Lyons vies for Naas Listed honours with Psychedelic Funk
Godolphin's Skiffle supplemented for Oaks at Epsom
28 May 2016Tepin team mulling Royal Ascot plan following Saturday spin
Prince reigns at Beverley for Cowell and Morris
Jockey Adrian Nicholls to call it a day after Catterick ride
Anamba returns at Naas for Mick Halford
Royal Ascot beckons for Nasimi following Haydock triumph for Charlie Appleby
Michael O'Callaghan considers Royal Ascot for Naas-bound Spy Ring
Ed Walker sets his sights on France with Stormy Antarctic
Martyn Meade sweet on Aclaim at Naas
Mark Johnston retains faith in Buratino ahead of Haydock return
Godolphin's Brave buy out to strike at Haydock
John Gosden pinning his hopes on Journey at Haydock
Ann Duffield hoping Rainbow emerges from the Mist at Beverley
Mark Johnston hoping for Hilary Needler repeat with Boater