LONG RUN and Kauto Star are the headline names among 19 entries for the Betfair Chase at Haydock on November 19.
Kauto Star will be bidding for a remarkable fourth win in the Grade One prize, to go with his four victories in the King George VI Chase and two Cheltenham Gold Cups.
But the 11-year-old looks set to face his sternest test in the race to date, with last year's King George and Gold Cup hero Long Run on course to make his seasonal reappearance in the three-mile contest.
Kauto Star was pulled up on his final start of last season at Punchestown, leading many to question whether the French-bred gelding should be retired.
But owner Clive Smith was pleased to see him show plenty of enthusiasm in a gallop at Exeter on Tuesday.
He said: "It looks as though this year's Betfair Chase is going to be a very good race and I am looking forward to seeing Kauto Star return to Haydock.
"We gave him a racecourse gallop at Wincanton before the Gold Cup last season and he had another spin at Exeter yesterday.
"The plan is that we are going to run him in the Betfair and then everything will come out regarding his future.He could be retired, he could have another run or he might be around for another go at the Gold Cup.
"There are so many factors and he is not the oldest horse in training. See More Business was third in the Cheltenham Gold Cup as a 12-year-old and Kauto Star is in great shape.
"If any horse is going to be feeling pretty good as an 11-year-old it is Kauto Star because he is an exceptional horse.
"It's a strong entry for the Betfair Chase and we will be taking on some good, young chasers, so it will be very interesting. He certainly doesn't have to win the Betfair Chase to race on. If he is beaten by four or five lengths, then it could show he is still in fine fettle."
Charlie Hall Chase winner Weird Al is in the mix for Donald McCain, along with Wetherby runner-up Time For Rupert and the fourth home Nacarat.
Diamond Harry was a late withdrawal from the Charlie Hall, but connections have revealed a trip to Haydock is a possibility.
Another interesting entry is top-class hurdler Grands Crus.
Old Roan Chase winner Albertas Run, Midnight Chase, Rubi Light and Kalahari King also feature.