Altior and Un De Sceaux are among just nine entries for the Clarence House Chase at Ascot.
The former, last season’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle hero, is unbeaten in three starts since having his attentions turned to fences this season.
Nicky Henderson’s charge claimed Grade One honours in the Henry VIII Novices’ Chase at Sandown and subsequently landed the Wayward Lad Novices’ Chase at Kempton in effortless fashion over the festive period.
Altior is already as short as even-money for the Arkle Trophy at the Cheltenham Festival and would be a fascinating contender if allowed to move outside novice company for the first time on January 21.
The Willie Mullins-trained Un De Sceaux was an impressive winner of this event 12 months ago and made a successful start to the current campaign in the Tingle Creek at Sandown.
He is one of two potential challengers from Ireland along with Henry de Bromhead’s recent Desert Orchid Chase winner Special Tiara.
Gary Moore could saddle Tingle Creek runner-up Sire De Grugy, who won the Clarence House in 2014.
Moore could be double-handed with Tingle Creek fourth Ar Mad, who can be expected to improve considerably on what was his first run since last February.
Dodging Bullets landed this prize in 2015 for Paul Nicholls and could bid to regain his crown.
Jonjo O’Neill’s Eastlake, the Philip Hobbs-trained Royal Regatta and Top Gamble, from the Kerry Lee yard, complete the field.