The countdown wouldn't be nearly as compelling without a touch of drama.
A month prior to the 2010 Cheltenham Festival, Binocular was ruled out of the Champion Hurdle, before making that Lazarus-like recovery to scorch to victory on the day. Last year, he got caught up in the eye of another storm when treatment for an innocuous allergy resulted in a positive drug test, compelling Nicky Henderson to scratch him on the eve of the event.
In 2005, following a dirty scope, Tom Taaffe admitted defeat with Kicking King just over two weeks ahead of his Gold Cup tilt. Come the day, the previous year's Arkle Trophy runner-up bounded home by five lengths, seemingly without a care in the world.
It is ever thus, and tightening those last few screws is a balancing act that tries even the most seasoned practitioners. This time round, we've had the works.
From the day-by-day minutiae of Kauto Star's progress after an "awful" fall during a routine schooling session, to the curious predicament that prompted Don McCain to deem Peddlers Cross fit enough to tackle the Jewson, but not the Arkle, as well as the usual raft of withdrawals, there has been plenty to chew over at the usual proliferation of preview nights.
It's a bit like the perfunctory shemozzle at a GAA match. No one wants to see it, but it doesn't half pique everyone's interest when something untoward actually happens.
By the time the ball is thrown in on Tuesday, some of the machinations of the previous few weeks won't matter a jot, and some will. One way or another, it should be a cracking week.
From an Irish perspective, Hurricane Fly could become the third raider since 1999 to win the Champion Hurdle more than once, while Quevega has the opportunity to follow Istabraq's 2000 feat of a fourth successive Festival triumph later the same day. Sizing Europe, successful in the Arkle in 2010, is also on course for back-to-back Champion Chase glory.
As for tallies, last year's record haul of 13 is by no means out of reach, though poaching upwards of 48pc of the spoils two years running will be a tall order. Here we take a look at how it might pan out for the travelling contingent.
In recent times, the Supreme Novices' Hurdle has been a lucrative race for Irish horses to kick-start the week, with seven winners since 2000 bettered only by our accrual (eight) in the bumper. This time round, we are looking for a first result in three years, and have serious claims with the likes of Steps To Freedom, Galileo's Choice and Midnight Game.
With the Arkle beyond us, remember that should we fail in both of the opening novices, the last two times that happened we ended the week with record tallies, last year's 13 preceded by 10 in 2006. The JLT Handicap Chase may or may not get the balling rolling, but how's this for part two of day one?
Hurricane Fly is odds-on in the Champion Hurdle, ditto Quevega in the mares' race and we have the first four in the betting for the cross-country. For anyone thinking about backing Willie Mullins for his second successive leading trainer gong at 11/8, it may instead be worth considering putting Hurricane Fly and Quevega in an opening-day stable treble.
You could throw in Raptor in the novices' handicap chase, or maybe Scotsirish in the cross-country. At current best prices, the former would pay 62/1, and the latter 11/1.
Prediction -- 4 winners.
Value option -- Midnight Game (at around 9/1) is open to improvement in the curtain-raiser.
One to avoid -- The notion that Blackstairmountain (16/1) might get competitive in the Arkle has been growing legs. Unless he has grown an extra one, it's not going to happen.
Day TWO yielded a mammoth six winners 12 months ago. While that will be nigh on impossible to match, we again have an abundance of leading prospects, although, as was the case in 2011, accurately identifying the pick of them isn't easy.
The reigning champion Sizing Europe is many people's idea of a banker in the Queen Mother, with his 2010 predecessor Big Zeb waiting in the wings should anything go amiss. Last year's Neptune hero First Lieutenant is a contender in the RSA Chase, likewise Monksland, Sous Les Cieux and Make Your Mark in this year's Neptune.
Depending on what Mullins decides, Sir Des Champs and Boston Bob would also figure if they take up their respective engagements in those two heats, while the champion trainer is among a number of Irish handlers with chances in the bumper.
Mullins' Soll is respected in the National Hunt Chase. There are many raiders to consider in the Coral Cup and Fred Winter Hurdles, but the handicaps could be tough this year.
Prediction -- 3 winners.
Value option -- Many felt that Carlito Brigante would have won the Coral Cup carrying an extra stone last year, yet he's available at 16/1 to do just that off just a 13lb higher mark.
One to avoid -- Sous Les Cieux's slightly nervy temperament won't help his cause.
The Ryanair Chase is the only Festival Grade One that has yet to go the way of an Irish-trained horse, but Rubi Light and Noble Prince are possibly the two best chances that we have had in the race since its inception in 2005. Rubi Light was third as a relative novice in 2011, when Noble Prince won the Jewson over course and distance.
In Thursday's Jewson, our best hope may be Sir Des Champs, though he could tackle the RSA instead, with Up The Beat potentially interesting in the Kim Muir. Jetson and Prince Erik would have plenty appeal in the Pertemps.
As for the World Hurdle, the likes of Thousand Stars and Mourad are honest campaigners, but they are not Big Buck's. That's going to count against them.
Prediction -- 2 winners.
Value option -- With doubts about Peddlers Cross, 11/2 is too big about Sir Des Champs for the Jewson. Mullins has yet to rule out the RSA, but the non-runner-no-bet concession means that bookmakers will return your stake if he goes down that route.
One to avoid -- Catch Me. A recent Punchestown eye-catcher that will sport JP McManus' silks for a first time in the Pertemps, he is an unreliable so-and-so with lots of mileage.
With all that's gone on in recent weeks, Quel Esprit looks less of an outsider for the Gold Cup now. That said, he still has plenty to find if he is to win the game's blue riband event.
Mullins has a more robust chance in the Albert Bartlett (Boston Bob and Felix Yonger are among his options), while his Darroun is increasingly popular in the Triumph, a race that hasn't come this way since Scolardy scored for the Closutton handler in 2002. Hisaabaat and Shadow Catcher will make their presence felt in the Triumph and Shadow Catcher's trainer Gordon Elliott could also be in the mix in the Albert Bartlett courtesy of Mount Benbulben.
In the handicaps, Citizenship and Moon Dice are solid options in the County, with Idarah sure to thrive on the always decent Prestbury Park ground in the Grand Annual, a race that the recent Leopardstown scorer Slieveardagh might also contest. On The Fringe and Salsify are two that warrant immense respect in the Foxhunters'.
Prediction -- 2 winners.
Value option -- On the back of a game reappearance victory at Naas, Idarah could outrun odds of 20/1 to play a part in the Grand Annual.
One to avoid -- The Triumph Hurdle. Unless you want to get the last day off on the wrong foot, swerve the juvenile hurdlers at all costs. They are rarely worth the hassle.