Bristol De Mai faces seven rivals in his quest to earn a record-equalling fourth victory in the Betfair Chase at Haydock on Saturday.
The Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained grey has taken the Grade One prize three times - in 2017, 2018 and 2020 - and bids to equal the mighty Kauto Star, who was successful in 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2011.
There is strong opposition, including Henry de Bromhead's A Plus Tard, who makes his first appearance since filling the runner-up spot behind stablemate Minella Indo in last season's Cheltenham Gold Cup.
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Chatham Street Lad, trained by Mick Winters, is the other Irish-trained contender.
Paul Nicholls, who has won the Betfair Chase on a record six occasions, saddles second-season novice Next Destination.
Waiting Patiently has not won since beating Cue Card in the 2018 Ascot Chase, but Christian Williams has been positive about his well-being ahead of his first start for the yard.
The Venetia Williams-trained Royale Pagaille won the Peter Marsh Chase by 16 lengths over the course and distance last season and returns to Merseyside this weekend.
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The field is completed by Clondaw Castle (Tom George) and Imperial Aura (Kim Bailey), with Native River the only withdrawal at the 48-hour final declaration stage.