Irish raiders Vautour and Don Cossack head the ante-post market after 32 entries were revealed for William Hill King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day.
The Willie Mullins-trained Vautour, impressive winner of the JLT Novices’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival last season, is 11-4 favourite with the sponsors.
Last weekend’s JNwine.com Champion Chase scorer Don Cossack, trained by Gordon Elliott, is 4-1 second best.
Willie Mullins has the most entries with five horses in the list with Djakadam, Don Poli, Sir Des Champs and Valseur Lido completing his team from a total of nine Irish entries.
Silviniaco Conti, winner of this prestigious race for the last two years, is 6-1 to complete the hat-trick.
He is among four from the Paul Nicholls yard along with Ptit Zig, Saphir Du Rheu and Southfield Theatre.
Nicky Henderson is represented by Ma Filleule and Simonsig, who is set to return from a lengthy absence over hurdles at Aintree on Saturday.
David Pipe has three - Kings Palace, Ballynagour and Dynaste - while Philip Hobbs looks to Captain Chris and Menorah.
There are also three entries from France - Pindare, Shannon Rock and Saint Palois.
“There is an international feel about this year’s entries and tremendous strength in depth,”said William Hill spokesman Jon Ivan-Duke.
“The blue touch-paper has been lit and there should be festive fireworks in this year’s King George.”
* Anglophile can get his winter campaign off to a perfect start in the Totepool Betting On All UK Races Handicap at Chelmsford.
The Godolphin-owned four-year-old was one of the leading lights of last year’s All-Weather Championships, winning three times on the way to Finals Day back in April.
Having been placed on each start through the winter, it was little surprise to see Charlie Appleby’s charge sent off a warm favourite for the Marathon event.
However, Mymatechris found a little extra on the big day to avenge a previous defeat and deny Anglophile the main prize by just a head.
There was no shame in defeat that day and doubtless a return trip to Lingfield on Good Friday is the long-term aim, with this one-mile-six-furlong heat providing the perfect starting point.
Hayley Turner can bag her final Chelmsford winner courtesy of Clovelly Bay in the Get Social With Totepool On Facebook Handicap.
Marcus Tregoning has been a good supporter of Turner throughout her career and will surely be keen to help her secure a final victorious hurrah ahead of her retirement on Saturday.
Clovelly Bay was last seen when lining up in an amateurs’ event at Doncaster late last month, when he just kept on at one pace for third place.
He is certainly no star, but should give Turner a good spin here.
Shifiting Star can follow up his recent Windsor success in the totepool Supporting The Sport You Love Handicap, while Falsify is the choice in the New Years Parties At Chelmsford City Racecourse Apprentice Handicap.
Space Ship is an interesting challenge from Robbie Hennessy’s Irish yard as he tackles the Donaldson Timber Engineering Handicap Hurdle at Musselburgh.
Formerly trained by John Gosden on the Flat, Space Ship has yet to really sparkle for Hennessy, although he scraped a Graded race placing this time last year.
He likely needed his outing at Down Royal last Saturday, keeping on for third in a competitive handicap, and it would be no surprise if he made swift progress to take the win here.
Creepy has been highly tried in the past but something like the Miller Homes Scotland Handicap Hurdle remains within his compass.
Court Of Law can make amends for unseating his rider last time by landing Hexham’s Weatherbys Hamilton Novices’ Handicap Chase, while hurdles winner Kassis can make the switch to bigger obstacles with aplomb in the EBF Stallions/TBA Mares’ Beginners’ Chase at Fontwell.
CHELMSFORD: 4.35 Falsify, 5.10 Purple Magic, 5.40 Clovelly Bay, 6.10 ANGLOPHILE (NAP), 6.40 Shifting Star, 7.10 Turbo Charged, 7.40 Comparative.
DUNDALK: 6.00 Shamoo, 6.30 Danz Gift, 7.00 Sors, 7.30 No Way Jack, 8.00 Splashtop, 8.30 Poitin, 9.00 Ice Kingdom.
FONTWELL: 1.40 Bon Enfant, 2.10 Kassis, 2.40 Avispa, 3.10 Carobello, 3.40 Marlpit Oak, 4.10 Briac.
HEXHAM: 1.20 Grey Storm, 1.50 Ryedale Racer, 2.20 Court Of Law, 2.50 Zazamix, 3.20 Toola Boola, 3.50 Dusky Bob.
MUSSELBURGH: 1.00 Quill Art, 1.30 Carinena, 2.00 Creepy, 2.30 The Backup Plan, 3.00 Space Ship, 3.30 Village Vic, 4.00 Sand Blast.
DOUBLE: Anglophile and Kassis.