There is no debating the quality of performer attracted for Ascot's Sodexo Clarence House Chase on January 23rd although there are only eight entries.
The £125,000 (€170,000) Grade One contest may be thin on numbers, but boasts two former Queen Mother Champion Chase winners and last year’s Arkle hero in the mix.
Sprinter Sacre, who won the rearranged running at Cheltenham in 2013, is a possible. He used this event to return to action last season after his long lay-off and was second to subsequent Queen Mother winner Dodging Bullets.
Nicky Henderson’s pride and joy won for the second time this season over Christmas, beating another former champion Sire De Grugy, and the two could clash again. Henderson could also run long-absent Captain Conan.
Sire De Grugy's trainer Gary Moore feels the result at Kempton could have been different if his charge had jumped the last cleanly.
“If he hadn’t got in tight to the last it probably would have been a different result,” said Moore.
“He’ll come on again for that run, I’m sure. He improves with racing. He’s all set for the Clarence House.
“When we had Sprinter Sacre off the bridle I thought we had him beaten because all his winning had been done on the bridle.”
Moore has also entered Traffic Fluide, a smart novice last term.
Willie Mullins's Arkle winner Un De Sceaux is another with the Ascot option. He was due to run in the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown last month, but missed that and fell when odd-on favourite at Leopardstown. Mullins has also entered Felix Yonger.