Another colossal De Bromhead clash between last year's Gold Cup winner Minella Indo and the 2022 ante-post favourite A Plus Tard is likely, after 30 entries were made for this year's centrepiece chase at the Cheltenham Festival.
Both trained by Henry de Bromhead, the duo were separated by just a length and a quarter in 2021, but it is A Plus Tard who is heading the market at this stage after winning the Betfair Chase before being narrowly denied in the Savills Chase at Leopardstown last week, while Minella Indo disappointed in the King George at Kempton.
Willie Mullins' two-times winner Al Boum Photo was a brave third in his hat-trick tilt last term, but is in the mix to try to take his title again after a winning seasonal debut at Tramore on New Year's Day.
He is part of a seven-strong fleet from the champion Irish handler who has also chalked up King George hero Tornado Flyer plus John Durkan winner Allaho, Asterion Forlonge, Carefully Selected, Franco De Port and Melon.
Galvin is Gordon Elliott's main chance at this early stage, with the trainer making five initial entries including the mare Mount Ida, who was a Grade Three winner at Punchestown on New Year's Day.
Dan Skelton's Protektorat leads the charge for the UK trainers, with Nicky Henderson's Long Walk Hurdle winner Champ and another King George toiler, Chantry House, also among the possible runners.
Paul Nicholls will not send front running Frodon (a fourth in the King George) but has entered Saint Calvados who plugged on for third at Kempton.
Leading novice stayer Ahoy Senor is a good looking entry for Lucinda Russell having won at Newbury and found the talented Bravemansgame too good at Kempton over Christmas.
Fiddlerontheroof, Lostintranslation, Royale Pagaille and Aye Right add further layers of talent to the stellar list.