PAUL NICHOLLS could prove key to proceedings at Kempton with AL FEROF taken to improve upon last year's third and snatch William Hill King George VI Chase gold.
The nine-year-old was beaten over 14 lengths by stablemate Silviniaco Conti in 2013 and while that rival lines up again, Al Ferof is fancied to reverse that form under very different conditions.
Al Ferof has had the same prep as last term, winning the Amlin Chase at Ascot, although this year's renewal was a much more competitive affair than the two-runner heat he contested the previous term.
He beat subsequent Peterborough Chase hero Wishfull Thinking as well as Tingle Creek second Somersby this term, giving the form a really strong look and suggesting that Al Ferof could be better than ever.
Kempton is not a particularly searching track so if Al Ferof is to claim one of these top level events, this looks a golden opportunity with plenty in his favour. Nicholls can also claim Grade One glory with SAPHIR DU RHEU in the Kauto Star Novices' Chase.
A classy hurdler last term, big things were expected on his chasing bow but he fluffed his lines when blundered through a fence and shedding his jockey at Newbury.
Turned out at Exeter a week later, he showed his true colours when seeing off Horizontal Speed by a comfortable 11 lengths, with this step up to three miles appearing a next logical step for a really promising individual. FAUGHEEN is hardly an original selection in the williamhill.com Christmas Hurdle, but it would be a brave punter who opposes Willie Mullins' new star.
Unbeaten in seven starts to date, Faugheen triumphed at Cheltenham and Punchestown and was impressive when winning at Ascot last month.
CORRIN WOOD made a satisfactory return to action at Sandown earlier in the month and can build on that in the William Hill Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase at Wetherby.