Dynaste, First Lieutenant and Silviniaco Conti feature among a field of six declared for the Bowl Chase at Aintree on Thursday...
Dynaste justified favouritism as he landed the Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival and, though the Ryanair was over two miles and five furlongs, the extra half a mile he has to travel on Merseyside will hold no fears as he won the Mildmay Novices' Chase over course and distance last April.
The first three home in the Bowl last year are set to do battle again. Irish raider First Lieutenant got the verdict 12 months ago and he comes here fresher than most having being withdrawn from the Cheltenham Gold Cup on the day of the race. Menorah, who finished runner-up in the Bowl last year, and the Paul Nicholls-trained Silviniaco Conti, who was third, will be trying to reverse the placings.
There is a second Irish challenger in the shape of the Tom Taaffe-trained Argocat, winner of the Red Mills Chase at Gowran in February, while Houblon Des Obeaux, from the Venetia Williams stable and ninth in the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup, completes the sextet.
Silviniaco Conti, with a weight-adjusted figure of 190, heads Timeform's ratings for the Grade 1 contest, though he is not currently favourite - available to back at 3.211/5 - as Dynaste, who is rated 5 lb lower on 185 but arrives in good form following success at Cheltenham, has been well supported of late and trades at 3.02/1. First Lieutenant, the third of the big guns, is rated 176+, though it is worth noting he has been higher in the past.