The showdown is on after both Cue Card and Thistlecrack featured among five declarations for the 32Red King George VI Chase at Kempton.
The duo are trained in Somerset by Colin Tizzard, who has enjoyed an incredible run of fortune so far this season, with Cue Card’s Betfair Chase victory and Native River’s Hennessy win two particular highlights.
Thistlecrack has made an immediate impact in the chasing ranks, with last season’s World Hurdle hero winning each of his three outings over the larger obstacles.
He won a Grade Two event at Newbury on his most recent run last month but is facing a huge leap in class as he tackles this Grade One contest.
It will be a major shock if one of the two market leaders does not win, but lying in wait is a dual winner of the race in Silviniaco Conti.
His trainer Paul Nicholls has won the Christmas showpiece nine times already, with five of those victories coming courtesy of Kauto Star.
Josses Hill was supplemented by owner Alan Spence after trainer Nicky Henderson built his confidence back up.
He chased home the ill-fated Vautour in the 2014 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, but failed to set the world alight in his first season over fences, winning just once in three starts last term.
However, Josses Hill has won both of his outings this campaign, with his Peterborough Chase win last time out booking his ticket for this event.
Tea For Two chased him home at Huntingdon and is expected to be suited by the step back up to three miles having won the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase on the card last year.
The two horses not declared were the Gigginstown House Stud-owned pair of Road To Riches and Roi Des Francs.
32Red announced, on Tuesday, they will be sponsoring the canteen for all stable staff attending Kempton for the 32Red Winter Festival next week. A meal in the stable canteen will be free for stable staff on not only the two racing days of the meeting, but also for those having to spend Christmas Day at the track after travelling with their horses. Each member of stable staff will get a voucher for a meal of their choice on each of the three days.
Brian Clifford, Regional Head of Racing and Clerk of the Course at Kempton Park Racecourse, said;
“We are delighted with the strength and depth of the entries across both days of the 32Red Winter Festival. The three Grade 1 races on Boxing Day look exceptional and the forecast is set fair to be two wonderful days racing.”