Heavy is the head that wears the crown. Altior, victorious at the last four festivals, but absent today after the first troubled campaign of his career. And so the throne is left vacant.
Two princes in waiting will duel to fill it. Defi Du Seuil is part of the new breed of juvenile. The French bred rather than the ex-flat horse.
They last longer and go onto more. His jousts with Un De Sceaux, one of Altior's vanquished, through the season have seen him elevated through the ranks. A dual festival winner, he is the obvious heir apparent to Altior.
Except he was beaten in Ireland last season by Chacun Pour Soi, a horse who appeared on the scene like a bolt of lightning from a summer sky.
That was an away game for Defi whereas it's Chacun who is away from home today.
His latest victory over Min, another of Altior's vanquished, was arguably his strongest form and he is entitled to improve again, with only four runs since he arrived to these shores.
Tactics will be fascinating. Defi Du Seuil appears to have a Road Runner change of gear, while Chacun Pour Soi's jumping is impeccable, taking lengths from his rivals.
In two-mile chasing though, jumping is the ace card and I think Chacun will fill the last missing major Cheltenham race on Willie's CV.
Appreciate It will gallop down to the start a strong favourite for the Champion Bumper today. He has all the attributes needed to win this great nursery of talent.
He has a high cruising speed to be able to take a position and the physique to hold it. He has a turn of foot in order to get into, through and away from the constantly shifting gaps that appear and disappear in bumpers (they are called bumpers for a reason you know.)
But most importantly he has the head to handle the bubbling cauldron that is the Cheltenham atmosphere.
I've ridden horses like Sicilian Secret and Day Of A Lifetime that have left their race behind cantering past the stands before the race, left it on the ground in the middle of punters and drunks and fans, the vultures and the peacocks.
I don't see the six-year-old Appreciate It, with three bumpers and two point to points under his belt, even noticing. Knowing him, he'll be thinking it's nearly time for evening feed.
Panic Attack receives 15lb, which is a sizeable chunk of lead. Two fillies have won this race in recent years and four-year-olds have won it sporadically in the past.
It won't be easy for a young filly to have changed country and yard mid-season but if she has handled that, she is an obvious danger.
Ferny Hollow has the ability but I have my doubts over his maturity while for those who are feeling luckier than Dirty Harry's punk, we've had worse horses than Five Bar Brian run well in this race before.
I think my horse stands out in this race like a lighthouse on a dark stormy night at sea and I'll be disappointed if we get beaten.
Lighthouses tend to be surrounded by sharp hidden rocks though and I've been disappointed here before, and will be again no doubt, but it's not something I'm afraid of.
I really can't wait for the tapes to fly back and find out if he's as good as I hope he is.
Yesterday was one of those days. Asterion Forlonge decided to make an audition as an American football player, Sharjah ran a super race but bumped into a special mare, Benie Des Dieux met an immovable object in Honeysuckle who enjoyed a magic inside run while Carefully Selected pulled himself into the ground for three miles. Better days ahead we hope.
1.30 The Big Getaway
2.50 Franco De Port (e/w)
5.30 Appreciate It