Thousand gets another chance
Thousand Stars faces eight rivals as he attempts to go one better than the last two seasons in the John Smith's Aintree Hurdle on Thursday.
The Willie Mullins-trained grey, who skipped the Cheltenham Festival to wait for this, will again be taken on by Oscar Whisky, who has finished a neck in front of him in the last two renewals of the Grade One contest but ran a lifeless race in the World Hurdle on his last appearance.
Paul Townend will be in the saddle on Thousand Stars as Ruby Walsh will be riding Zarkandar for Paul Nicholls, who also saddles Prospect Wells.
Oscar Whisky will be ridden by Tony McCoy for the first time as stable jockey Barry Geraghty has chosen to ride Grandouet, a faller in the Champion Hurdle.
The New One, such an impressive winner of the Neptune Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham for the Nigel Twiston-Davies team, will represent the novice division.
Countrywide Flame, who ran so well to be third in the Champion Hurdle for John Quinn, will aim to give the stable another big winner after Levitate claimed the Lincoln on Saturday.
Raya Star represents Alan King, while Saphir River completes the field for Lucinda Russell as the race is run in its new slot on the first day of the meeting.