Henry Daly's nine-year-old signed off his last campaign with two major victories in the Grimthorpe Chase at Doncaster and the bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown. Those two wins show the grey needs a trip in excess of three miles and a pretty sound surface to be at his very best.
Those conditions are all too infrequent for a staying chaser and you certainly would not expect to get them in December, so Daly must be counting his lucky stars as the ground looks like being absolutely perfect for him.
He won the Grimthorpe off a mark of 127 and followed up at Sandown off 135 so began this season off 143. While he would not have won on his return to action in a race very similar to this, he showed up well for a long way before unseating his rider at the last.
Dropped 1lb after that, he should strip fitter and Daly's horses are in top form as he has already surpassed his total of winners for last season.
Paul Nicholls' string sprang into life last weekend and with a run over the unique course under his belt, Sire Collonges could be hard to beat in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase.
He is quite young at the age of seven to have his attention switched to this game, but he seemed to take to it well last month before weakening into sixth behind Balthazar King. As this is a handicap he is giving lumps of weight away, but his class should see him prevail.
Nicholls has a chance of doubling up with Southfield Theatre in the Citipost Handicap Hurdle. The five-year-old looked all over the winner last time out before the hill took its toll, with Return Spring and Salubrious battling back past him and he had to settle for third. As he had already had a run, fitness may not have been the issue but the fact this race is over two furlongs less is a massive bonus and can offset the 4lb rise.
While Taquin Du Seuil did not do that much for the form last week, Oscar Whisky should surely get off the mark over fences in the Ryman Stationery Cheltenham Business Club Novices' Chase. He may have switched his attentions late in life to this game but his first experience was farcical. After The Cockney Mackem nearly refused in front of him at the first, Oscar Whisky was left in front which was not ideal and then he surprisingly lost out in a sprint.
If he cannot beat Wonderful Charm getting 8lb it is difficult to see what the future may hold for him.
Donald McCain's Diamond King is just about the hottest prospect in the north and should have no trouble extending his unbeaten record in the TurfTV "National Hunt" Novices' Hurdle at Bangor.
Marco Botti and Martin Harley have had a flying start to their new association and can notch up another winner with Magika in the Coral App Download From The App Store Handicap at Wolverhampton.