Defi Du Seuil and Lostintranslation will renew rivalry in the JLT Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham on Thursday.
Colin Tizzard’s Lostintranslation secured a narrow victory when the pair met in the Dipper Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day, but the Philip Hobbs-trained Defi Du Seuil turned the tables in last month’s Scilly Isles at Sandown.
That duo dispute favouritism for this two-and-a-half-mile Grade One, with a field of 10 runners set to go to post.
Willie Mullins has saddled four of the eight previous winners of this event and fires a three-pronged assault.
Real Steel appears the Irish champion trainer’s main hope ahead of stable companions Voix Du Reve and Pravalaguna.
Gordon Elliott’s Mengli Khan is a fourth Irish challenger.
The Paul Nicholls-trained Capeland, Ben Pauling’s Kildisart, Kim Bailey’s Vinndication and Castafiore from Charlie Longsdon’s yard complete the field.
Jessica Harrington’s Walk To Freedom heads a maximum field of 24 runners for the first handicap on day three of the Festival – the Pertemps Final.
Leading contenders include Elliott’s Sire Du Berlais, First Assignment – trained by Ian Williams – and the Hobbs-trained dual Chepstow scorer Samburu Shujaa.
Nicky Henderson’s pair of Janika and River Wylde are the top two in the weights for the 24-runner Brown Advisory & Merribelle Stable Plate.
The Seven Barrows maestro also has a strong hand in the National Hunt Breeders Supported By Tattersalls Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle, with short-priced favourite Epatante joined by Lust For Glory and Elusive Belle.
Mullins has won the three previous runnings of this Grade Two with Limini, Let’s Dance and Laurina and is responsible for seven of the 22 runners this year, including includes Sancta Simona and My Sister Sarah.
The final race of the afternoon is the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup, in which the Mullins-trained Livelovelaugh and Elliott’s pair of Its All Guesswork and Measureofmydreams feature among 24 runners.