G1 winner Kylemore Lough and progressive second-season chaser Romain De Senam headline 45 entries for this year's BetVictor Gold Cup, the £160,000 highlight of The November Meeting at Cheltenham on Saturday, November 18.
They are 10/1 joint-favourites with BetVictor for the extended two and a half-mile handicap chase, with Kylemore Lough having joined trainer Harry Fry in the summer after winning the G1 Ryanair Gold Cup at Fairyhouse in April, 2016.
Kylemore Lough finished fifth on both his appearances at Cheltenham last season, including in the G3 Caspian Caviar Gold Cup Handicap Chase at The International in December, and came home fourth on his latest appearance in the G1 JLT Melling Chase at Aintree in April.
Dorset-based Fry reported: "Kylemore Lough is very well and will head straight to the BetVictor Gold Cup, all being well.
"There are still two and a half weeks to go, but we are happy with his progress and looking forward to the race."
Romain De Senam, beaten a head in the G3 Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle at The Festival in 2016, has enjoyed a fine start to his second campaign over fences, winning handicap chases at Chepstow and Stratford in October.
The five-year-old features among nine contenders from the stable of Paul Nicholls and the Somerset handler could also be represented by Le Prezien (14/1), who went down by a neck to Foxtail Hill (20/1, Nigel Twiston-Davies) in the Randox Health Handicap Chase at The Showcase on October 28.
G1 JLT Novices' Chase fourth Politologue (25/1), last season's G3 Caspian Caviar Gold Cup winner Frodon (33/1) and San Benedeto (16/1), successful in the G1 Doom Bar Maghull Novices' Chase at Aintree in April, also feature among a strong team from Nicholls, who has won the BetVictor Gold Cup with Al Ferof (2012) and Caid Du Berlais (2014).
Gold Present (16/1) one of three entries from champion Jump trainer Nicky Henderson, was second in the Listed Close Brothers Novices' Handicap Chase in March, while Double Treasure (16/1, Jamie Snowden) won the Royal Gloucestershire Hussars Novices' Chase at The Showcase on October 28.
Cloudy Dream (14/1, Malcolm Jefferson) found only Altior six lengths too strong in the G1 Racing Post Arkle Novices' Chase at The Festival in March. The Trevor Hemmings-owned seven-year-old made a pleasing return to action when chasing home Smad Place in the G2 188Bet Monet's Garden Old Roan Limited Handicap Chase at Aintree on October 29.
Irish-trained horses have won the BetVictor Gold Cup five times, most recently thanks to Tranquil Sea in 2009, and the seven contenders for this year's race include Tully East (20/1) who beat Gold Present in the Close Brothers Novices' Handicap Chase, run over the same course and distance as the BetVictor Gold Cup, at The Festival 2017.
The seven-year-old, trained in County Kildare by Alan Fleming, was pulled up in a valuable handicap chase at the Punchestown Festival in April and returned to action at the same course on October 18, coming home fourth in a rated hurdle.
Fleming revealed: "The BetVictor Gold Cup is very much the aim for Tully East.
"He was a little rusty for his reappearance over hurdles at Punchestown earlier this month, but he finished off his race really good and we were very happy with him.
"He came home happy after that run and we will give him a good school over fences before going to Cheltenham.
"It was a fantastic win at Cheltenham last season. We were disappointed when he ran next time at Punchestown. I don't know exactly what happened that day - he either dropped his hind leg into a fence or jumped into a fence.
"The horse did well over the summer and came back in happy. He ran with plenty of life the other day."
Other Irish-trained entries include Ballycasey (20/1, Willie Mullins), a G1 winner over fences, plus G2 Gowran Park Champion Chase scorer A Toi Phil (14/1) and G1 Punchestown chase third Ball D'Arc (20/1), who are both trained by Gordon Elliott.
Charlie McCann, Head of PR & Communications at BetVictor, said: "We are delighted with the quantity and quality of entries for the second BetVictor Gold Cup with many of the leading yards on both sides of the Irish Sea represented.
"It promises to be a vintage renewal of this valuable and iconic handicap and we bet 10/1 the field."
Weights for the BetVictor Gold Cup, which has a maximum field of 20, are unveiled on Wednesday, November 8.
BetVictor Gold Cup - BetVictor bet:
10/1 Kylemore Lough
10/1 Romain de Senam
14/1 A Toi Phil
14/1 Cloudy Dream
14/1 Le Prezien
16/1 Art Mauresque
16/1 Double Treasure
16/1 Gold Present
16/1 San Benedeto
20/1 Ball d'Arc
20/1 Belami Des Pictons
20/1 Days Of Heaven
20/1 Foxtail Hill
20/1 Garde La Victoire
20/1 Top Gamble
20/1 Tully East
20/1 Viconte De Noyer
25/1 Clan Des Obeaux
25/1 Go Conquer
25/1 Plaisir D'amour
25/1 Traffic Fluide
25/1 Waiting Patiently
33/1 Aqua Dude
33/1 Lake Takapuna
33/1 Master Dee
33/1 Minella Present
33/1 Quite By Chance
33/1 Splash Of Ginge
33/1 Zamdy Man
40/1 Guitar Pete
1/4 the odds, 1-2-3-4
Entries for the other G3 highlight at The November Meeting, the £100,000 Unibet Greatwood Handicap Hurdle staged on Sunday, November 19, will be revealed tomorrow, Thursday, November 2.
There are three days of quality action during The November Meeting at Cheltenham, which starts on Friday, November 17, Countryside Day, continues on Saturday, November 18, BetVictor Gold Cup Day, and concludes on Sunday, November 19, The November Meeting Sunday.