Altior is set to face five rivals in his bid for a second victory in the Betfair Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown on Saturday.
It is two years since Nicky Henderson’s superstar chaser accounted for Un De Sceaux by four lengths in the Sandown showpiece.
The 10-year-old did not defend his crown 12 months ago after connections opted to tackle longer distances with a view to a possible tilt at the King George VI Chase, but that plan was shelved after Altior suffered his first defeat over jumps at the hands of Cyrname at Ascot.
He resumed winning ways at Newbury in February before a late setback ruled him out of the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in March. He will be a hot favourite to make a successful reappearance this weekend.
Paul Nicholls fires a twin assault as he looks to add to his record haul of 10 Tingle Creek successes. The Ditcheat handler saddles 2017 winner Politologue, who landed the Champion Chase when last seen, as well as recent Haldon Gold Cup hero Greaneteen.
Harry Whittington steps Rouge Vif up in class after impressing in handicap company at Cheltenham in October, while Olly Murphy will be hoping for an improved performance from Brewin’upastorm after finishing last of six on his seasonal debut at Carlisle.
The sextet is completed by Pat Fahy’s Irish challenger Castlegrace Paddy, who won the Fortria Chase at Navan last month.