Nicky Henderson is hoping for some spark on the track from Binocular for the first time this season at Sandown on Saturday.
Last season's Champion Hurdle third warms up for another crack at the Smurfit Kappa-sponsored showpiece on March 16.
He has yet to show his best form in two races this term, finishing fifth to Go Native in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle and third in Kempton's Christmas Hurdle.
But Henderson is optimistic of an improved effort from the JP McManus-owned gelding in the toteswinger Contenders Hurdle.
"We have got a big weekend coming up this weekend if the weather will allow us in that Binocular will go to Sandown," the Seven Barrows handler explained.
"We are taking this route because I'm pretty sure he wants more room, a big galloping track and hopefully a good pace.
"At Newcastle, and to a degree Kempton although that was better, the season has not quite got off to the start we anticipated with him, but I am hoping we are getting there.
"We have been trying very hard to analyse the whole thing. He does seem very good at the moment.
"That's not saying he wasn't good before but we feel there has been a bit missing.
"He's sparky enough, it's as though he's not quite as quick as he once was. He's grown into a big, strong horse. He shouldn't have lost any of his speed and has matured.
"There's no point pretending he hasn't been disappointing but he ran a respectable race at Kempton and was coming back at the end."
The Listed Contenders Hurdle over an extended two miles has been reopened until tomorrow due to insufficient entries.