15:30 Cheltenham, Wednesday
Live on ITV
1. Chacun Pour Soi (Willie Mullins/Patrick Mullins)
Top-class chaser who registered his sixth Grade 1 success in the Dublin Chase at Leopardstown last month, beating Dunvegan by 12 lengths to win that race for the third year in a row. Flopped on both previous visits to Britain (including when beaten a length and a half into third in this race 12 months ago) but has the ability to play a leading role if at his best.
2. Energumene (Willie Mullins/Paul Townend)
Went unbeaten in four starts as a novice chaser last season and once again looked a top-class prospect when making a winning reappearance in the Hilly Way Chase at Cork in December. Lost nothing in defeat when forfeiting his unbeaten record in the Clarence House Chase at Ascot last time, looking the likeliest winner for a long way before being worn down by Shishkin close home. Bold-jumping front runner who seems sure to go well again.
3. Envoi Allen (Henry de Bromhead/Rachael Blackmore)
Already a two-time winner at the Cheltenham Festival in the 2019 Champion Bumper and the 2020 Ballymore Novices' Hurdle. Won his first three starts over fences last season before falling in the Marsh Novices' Chase at this meeting. Failed to meet lofty expectations so far this season and made hard work of it when winning a Grade 1 at Leopardstown last time. Needs to leave that form behind after a wind op to make an impact here.
4. Funambule Sivola (Venetia Williams/Charlie Deutsch)
Likeable front-runner who has won his last two starts at this trip, defying a BHA mark of 152 in a handicap at Doncaster in January before taking another step forward to follow up in the Game Spirit Chase at Newbury last time. This is much tougher, but he isn't without each-way claims.
5. Nube Negra (Dan Skelton/Harry Skelton)
Returned with an impressive victory in the Shloer Chase over this course and distance and possibly found the race coming too soon when down the field in the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown on his only subsequent start. Goes particularly well when fresh and went close despite meeting trouble when chasing home Put The Kettle On in this race 12 months ago. This is a stronger renewal, however.
6. Politologue (Paul Nicholls/Harry Cobden)
Won this in 2020 but very lightly raced since and didn't look quite the force old when filling the runner-up spot behind Nube Negra in the Shloer Chase over this course and distance earlier in the season. His absence since isn't a concern, but it's hard to see this veteran playing a major part.
7. Shishkin (Nicky Henderson/Nico de Boinville)
Successful on both his previous visits to the Cheltenham Festival in the 2020 Supreme Novices' Hurdle and the 2021 Sporting Life Arkle. Reappeared this season with a smooth victory in the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton and then produced a career best to edge out Energumene in a thrilling edition of the Clarence House Chase at Ascot last time. Unbeaten in seven starts over fences and very much the one to beat again here.
8. Put The Kettle On (Henry de Bromhead/Aidan Coleman)
Another with an impeccable record at the Cheltenham Festival having following up her 2020 Arkle victory with a typically game performance to win this race last year. That was her fourth course and distance success and the return to this track in first-time cheekpieces could spark a revival after two below-par runs this season. However, even her best form leaves her with plenty in find in such a deep renewal.