Nicky Henderson will hand reigning Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Long Run his final prep race before sending him to the Cheltenham Festival next month, as the Seven Barrows star heads to Newbury on Saturday for the Betfair Denman Chase.
Previously known as the Aon Chase, the race has proved to be a fantastic trial race for the Gold Cup with Kauto Star winning the 2007 renewal and Denman the 2008 running, and now Long Run will look to etch his name in the illustrious roll of honour before he returns to Prestbury Park on March 16.
A spectacular winner of last year's Festival showpiece, Long Run has failed to get his head in front this campaign and has been forced to sit second fiddle to the incomparable Kauto Star in both the Betfair Chase and King George VI Chase, but Henderson will be hoping the Robert Waley-Cohen-owned gelding can finally get his head in front in Saturday's 3m contest before a return to Prestbury Park.
Even with those two aforementioned defeats, Long Run still sits at the head of the betting for the Cheltenham Gold Cup and if he can win in style on Newbury's Super Saturday then will surely be sent off the favourite for the Blue Riband event on the final day of the four-day extravaganza.
Nevertheless, he will have some classy rivals taking him on at the weekend with the interesting Burton Port a possible runner alongsides his stablemate. Last seen over a year ago finishing second to Diamond Harry in the 2010 Hennessy Gold Cup, Burton Port is another who could be Gold Cup bound and if Henderson can get him back to that Hennessy form then he will certainly test Long Run.
2011 Hennessy winner Carruthers didn't go a yard in the Welsh National, but he too can be a potentially tricky rival on his day, whilst Alan King's Medermit will be using this Grade Two contest as a stepping stone to the Ryanair Chase in just over five weeks time.
Paul Nicholls could be represented by an intriguing triumvirate with recent Argento Chase second Tidal Bay being joined by Aiteen Thirtythree and former Gold Cup fourth What A Friend, whilst Festival Trials Day winner The Giant Bolster is an obvious improver and could add tremendous strength to what could be a fascinating renewal come Saturday.