Trainer Willie Mullins has won the Festival curtain-raiser three times in the last five years and a record five times overall. His last two respective major hopes, Min and Melon, both finished second.
This year's assault is headed by Getabird, who is unbeaten in four starts and was a brilliant winner of the Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle at Punchestown in January, a race Mullins inmates Vautour and Douvan claimed en route to Supreme glory.
The Closutton handler has whittled his potential team down to three, with Sharjah and Whiskey Sour his other representatives.
Gordon Elliott has left in Mengli Khan and the much-vaunted Samcro, although the latter appears likely to contest the longer Ballymore Novices' Hurdle on Wednesday.
The home team includes Amy Murphy's Betfair Hurdle hero Kalashnikov, Tom George's Tolworth Hurdle winner Summerville Boy and Claimantakinforgan, who is Nicky Henderson's only challenger.
The Mullins-trained Footpad will face a maximum of eight rivals in the Racing Post Arkle Trophy.
The six-year-old is three from three since having his attentions turned towards chasing and is a hot favourite to add to his tally at the chief expense of old rival Petit Mouchoir, trained by Henry de Bromhead.
Mullins has also left in Kemboy and the only mare in the field Asthuria.
Henderson's Brain Power and Harry Whittington's Saint Calvados are also in contention along with North Hill Harvey (Dan Skelton), Robinshill (Nigel Twiston-Davies) and the Elliott-trained Tombstone.
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