The Henry de Bromhead-trained charge appears to be getting stronger with age, having flopped twice when entered for the Champion Hurdle before claiming the 2010 Arkle and then winning the Wednesday principal race of the Cheltenham Festival a year later.
There are twelve other horses entered for the race at this stage in proceedings and there is another Champion Chase winner in the form of Big Zeb, who will be looking to reverse the form of last year when the 2010 champion could not get on level terms with his Irish adversary.
However, time appears to be catching up with the 11-year-old who ran fifteen lengths behind Sizing Europe in the Cottage Chase at Punchestown earlier this month and those that are backing Big Zeb at 5/1 (Paddy Power £100 free bets) are largely doing this in the hope that he was off colour last time out.
Perhaps the favourite will be odds-on on the day of the race and a major gamble cannot be written off considering the impressive nature of that win in Ireland coupled with a triumph in the Tingle Creek Chase where the 9-year-old ran well clear of Kauto Stone and Cornas.
Sizing Europe was 3/1 for the Queen Mother after that race, although is now trading at 11/10 (Blue Square) and there are only two other horses that can trouble this long-time market leader.
Finian’s Rainbow is an interesting sort, having been among the favourites for last year’s Arkle Chase before finishing second behind Captain Chris. Since then, the Nicky Henderson-trained horse has recorded wins at Aintree and Kempton before running second behind Somersby in January.
Therefore, perhaps the latter is the best each-way value in this race at odds of 12/1 (Paddy Power), especially when you consider that the 8-year-old has finished out of the frame just once in the past year.