Kauto Star and Long Run head the eight confirmed runners for the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day.
Despite the small field,the race is certainly not lacking in quality, with Kauto Star biding for an incredible fifth win in the contest.
Last year’s winner Long Run, trained by Nicky Henderson, bids to reverse placings with Kauto Star after suffering defeat in the Betfair Chase at Haydock.
And Henderson feels it is his job to ‘dethrone Kauto Star’.
“Over the past year we could beat Kauto Star easily, as simple as that,” Henderson told the Guardian.
“But Kauto wasn’t anywhere near his prime in those two races. Now that Paul Nicholls has got him back to his best, and Kauto beat Long Run at Haydock last month, we’re in for one hell of a race.
“Even last year everyone else wanted Kauto to win. We really wrecked the party. That’s why the Haydock reception was phenomenal. People always want the old champion to come back and defeat the young pretender.
“Of course the public might not want me to do it but it’s my job to dethrone Kauto Star.”
Kauto Star’s owner Clive Smith and trainer Paul Nicholls also have Master Minded in the race. Henrietta Knight runs her stable star Somersby, with Diamond Harry representing Nick Williams.
Philip Hobbs’ Arkle winner Captain Chris is another trying three miles for the first time while Nacarat and Golan Way complete the stellar line-up.
Hobbs confirmed Captain Chris a definite runner – as long as the ground does not turn testing.
“He worked very well this morning and I’ve just got to school him tomorrow,” Hobbs told At The Races.
“He’ll run providing the ground isn’t soft.”