Jumps superstar Envoi Allen heads to Prestbury Park to put his unbeaten status on the line once again, this time in the form of the Marsh Novices’ Chase.
The seven-year-old has made a faultless transition to fences, winning all three of his start quite comfortably.
With Monkfish indefinitely racing in the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase, it could be a simple task for the Irish talent.
Hoping to put a spanner in the works is Dan Skelton’s Shan Blue, who carries some interesting form into this contest. The winner of the Grade 1 Kauto Star Novices’ Chase, he followed that victory with a strong second in the Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase in February.
It will take something incredibly special to beat the market favourite, so the seven-year-old will need to produce the performance of his career if he is to usurp Envoi Allen from his National Hunt throne.
Chantry House has improved after back surgery, with Nicky Henderson confident of his runner producing a big run here.
Stablemate Fusil Raffles will join him as well, with two victories under his belt at the Gloucestershire course this season already.
Caspian Caviar Gold Cup winner Chatham Street Lad has prominent each-way claims here, while last season’s Champion Hurdle third Darver Star could be a threat if the ground is suitable and trainer Gavin Cromwell decides to send him here.
Willie Mullins is yet to decide whether Asterion Forlonge is to make the trip across the Irish Sea, but the Closutton trainer believes ‘this race is for him.’
Allart and Latest Exhibition are likely to head to other contests at the Festival, while Hitman is avoiding Cheltenham for Aintree instead.
It seems likely that Envoi Allen will land his Festival hat-trick here, but anything can happen at Cheltenham.
Read our other Festival race previews, including Wednesday’s Champion Chase.