SILVINIACO CONTI cannot realistically be opposed in the Betfred Bowl on the opening day of the Grand National meeting at Aintree.
A winner 12 months ago, the Paul Nicholls-trained seven-year-old has been on an upward curve this season, winning the Charlie Hall, Betfair Chase and Denman Chase.
He headed to the Gold Cup with strong claims and despite falling, his performance backed up the impression he would run a big race and he sets a high standard for the others to aim at here on ground that should not inconvenience him.
Irish Saint gets the vote in the Matalan Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle.
It will be a little surprising if this year's renewal of the Grade One event contains a star of the future but the fact Nicholls opted to bypass Cheltenham to wait for this is encouraging.
He was behind Rolling Star at Cheltenham in January but, having twice won at Kempton, he is clearly more at home on a flat track such as this.
Dual race winner Oscar Whisky goes for three in a row but has questions to answer after pulling up at Cheltenham and with that in mind a chance is taken on novice The New One in the John Smith's Aintree Hurdle.
A first look at the fearsome National fences comes in the John Smith's Fox Hunters' Chase where the Nicholls-trained Gwanako looks fairly certain to play a leading role.
High class on his day and in good form this term with two wins at Sandown in races for military amateur jockeys, he should give his rider a spin to remember.
Karinga Dancer has obvious claims on a good card at Taunton in the totequadpot Novices' Hurdle.
He was an easy winner over hurdles at Wincanton last month and might be a nice prospect.
His Excellency should be followed in the totepool.com Handicap Chase, while at Lingfield Jeremy Noseda unleashes Nocturn, who runs in the TTS Networks Handicap.
Hans Adielsson's string are burning up the all-weather at the moment and Compton Silver can keep the run going with victory in the 32RedPoker.com Handicap at Wolverhampton.