Only five go to post for the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham, but Festival clues are certainly on offer.
The Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained The New One, outright favourite for the race of the same name in March, will put his credentials on the line after proving immensely impressive in three races over timber to date.
Jockey Sam Twiston-Davies said: "We'd be keen for a good gallop, but he's some animal. It's a very competitive race, but what he did at Warwick was very special indeed. He was visually very impressive that day, but I also think he has a lot of resilience if it comes to a battle."
He went on: "The only thing, possibly, is that this race is two weeks after the Warwick race, but he only really had a canter that day, so it's probably not that big a deal. It will probably be very tacky ground, but he's won on soft ground and it will be the same for everyone. He's a proper horse."
Rebecca Curtis's At Fishers Cross has progressed at a rate of knots this season. Three wins, the latest in a handicap at Cheltenham, have really caught the eye.
The trainer said: "I wouldn't say he's surprised me as we've always thought he was a good horse. He's taken a bit of time to click, but he is clearly progressing.
"I think he deserves to run in a race like this as he's been there and done it in good handicaps. This heavy ground seems to help his jumping, so that might come in handy at the weekend. He seems a horse on the up."
The Mark Bradstock-trained Coneygree has amassed a big following in three wins this season, which is not surprising given he is a half-brother to his Hennessy-winning stablemate Carruthers. Mattie Batchelor is the man on board and he is not too concerned about the step back to two and a half miles.
The jockey said: "When someone comes at him, he goes again. He's got a competitive edge and you'd rather have that than not. It's a good race with The New One and At Fishers Cross. He could easily run a good race and get beat, but enhance his Festival claims.
"We've won over this trip in bad ground and it will be a test. They're all stayers. You have to respect the others, but I like my fellow. I think you'd have to say he's ahead of Carruthers at the same stage. He's a much bigger stamp of a horse. He has ability, but it's his heart that makes him what he is."
13 December 2013Captain on course for Kempton
Kings aiming to reign for Pipe
Lavelle seeking Easter reward
McCoy not expecting to beat Murray
Bravo for Oscar at Cheltenham
Creepy on course for Challow
Court team mull next move
New tackles International test
Jockeys Fund boost from Limerick
Alexander suffers facial injuries
Bolger back on cross-country trail
Theatre puts on Peterborough show
Artiste draws away from rivals
National hero lined up for Wetherby
Tizzard using Hennessy as a Guide
Whisky out for early redemption
Spirit going for golden double
Break for Balder after Sandown run
McCoy wants rain for Fishers
12 December 2013Pulses set racing at Newcastle
'Nasty cut' for Alexander
Dr Turner to leave BHA role
No problems at Kempton
McCoy mulls Gold decision
Butler appeals five-year ban
Burgoyne to take Triumph test
Fog claims Kempton card
Honeyball upbeat despite Regal loss
Byron has more targets overseas
O'Meara considers Ascot raid
Johnson excited by Captain's return
African reverts to timber
Return to Oz is Simenon's goal
11 December 2013Kempton hope for third-time lucky
McNeile leaves Cheltenham role
Kempton to inspect again
Fog claims Lingfield card
Three held over £2.4m VAT fraud
Home Farm denied Gold run
Three held in tax probe
BHA's Brickell at corruption summit
Hills has Smart purring
McCoy praise for retired Binocular
St Nick continues recovery fight
Big guns remain in Navan feature
New course key for Attaglance
Diakali team consider Relkeel run
Ruby given chase entry
Star pair head International list
10 December 2013Binocular bows out
Rock team plan positive tactics
Gold fails to sparkle
Regal takes Hexham test
Thyestes aim for Cootamundra
Walsh sweet on Arvika switch
Walters to present McNamara cheque
Aintree aim for Busy
Grand National aim for Your Busy
Walters to present McNamara cheque
Four-star Harley at Wolverhampton
Jacob all set for Al Ferof
Sprinter prospect exciting Kempton
Winner a Strongpoint for Crawford
Hurricane honoured in HRI awards
Ground key to Topper plans
African chasing Uttoxeter spoils
Prince set for Cheltenham Gold run
Betfair goal for Trouble