Punters will make no mistake with Lostintranslation in King George
Lostintranslation can come through his sternest test to date, and stay on track for a £1million bonus this season, by winning today's Ladbrokes King George VI Chase at Kempton.
Colin Tizzard's brilliant chaser has chalked up two convincing successes to kickstart his first campaign outside novice company, and last month's victory in Haydock's Betfair Chase means he has a shot at the bonus if he can win again today and then in the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup too.
Lostintranslation is arguably more likely to prevail in the latter, given his running style in a ready graduation for the step up to beyond three miles at Haydock, but also because he may well not have to face Cyrname over the extra distance at Cheltenham.
Paul Nicholls' Grade One winner, a seven-year-old like Lostintranslation, has been a revelation on his last three starts - all at Ascot - which first propelled him to the top of the ratings and then cemented that position when he got the better of his duel with Altior last month.
Cyrname ought to be no less effective at Kempton than Ascot, but the snag for him is that his remarkable improvement has come at the small matter of three furlongs shorter than the three miles he will face here.
There are nagging doubts too for Lostintranslation, but his near seamless progression indicates he should silence them.
He was still a novice on only his second chase start when he demolished the third-last at Newbury 13 months ago - a mistake which stopped him in his tracks and consigned him to third place behind La Bague Au Roi.
There have been no such issues since - indeed he has impressed significantly with his jumping as of late - but his fencing accuracy will surely be under the microscope once Cyrname starts upping the ante from the front.
Lostintranslation's other feasible vulnerability is tactical pace over a sharp track, although last season's fine two-and-a-half-mile form against the speedy Defi Du Seuil suggests he should be adaptable.
As long as he avoids any untimely error, Lostintranslation is therefore likely to have the measure of Cyrname as well as his Nicholls' stablemate and King George title-holder Clan Des Obeaux, in what promises to be a titanic renewal of the famous race.
In Altior's absence, Nicholls' great rival Nicky Henderson is conspicuously unrepresented in the festive showpiece, but he is anything but that in the Ladbrokes Christmas Hurdle -which he is bidding to win for the ninth time this century.
Of Henderson's three hopes this time, Fusil Raffles presents a compelling case.
The four-year-old did not please everyone with the manner of his hard-fought victory on seasonal return in the Grade Two Elite Hurdle at Wincanton early last month.
But Henderson was unperturbed, making clear then and since that the three-quarter-length success from Nicholls' Grand Sancy was a mere starting point for what he hopes will be a championship campaign.
Fusil Raffles is surely better judged on either his Grade One win against his contemporaries at Punchestown in May or his British debut success, over this course and distance, in last season's Adonis Juvenile Hurdle.
That romp came on good ground, and the one caveat may be a significantly softer surface on which he is as yet unproven in racing conditions.
Black Op found Champ too hot to handle at Newbury last time, but it was no mean effort in going down by just a length and three-quarters.
Tom George's eight-year-old is very good in his own right, as his win at Stratford showed, and he can capture the Ladbrokes Kauto Star Novices' Chase.
Rocco can thrive for the switch to three miles over fences in the 888Sport Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase at Wetherby.
Nigel Twiston-Davies' runner lines up off a light weight as he makes the leap to Grade Three level, but he looked sure to be suited by a longer trip when second at Leicester earlier this month.
While this is a significant rise in class, Rocco was placed in Grade Two company over hurdles and can show his class over the bigger obstacles now.
Corinthia Knight can put up another solid show in the Betway Conditions Stakes at Wolverhampton.
DOWN ROYAL: 12.00 Alighted, 12.30 Russian Diamond, 1.00 Laureate, 1.35 Touch Of Oscar, 2.10 Golden Sunset, 2.45 Dylrow, 3.20 Railway Hurricane.
FONTWELL: 12.15 Early Days, 12.45 Crystal Tiara, 1.15 Neff, 1.50 Flaminger, 2.25 Notre Ami, 3.00 Heresmynumber, 3.35 Avithos.
KEMPTON: 12.50 South Seas, 1.20 Hold The Note, 1.55 Black Op, 2.30 Fusil Raffles, 3.05 LOSTINTRANSLATION (NAP), 3.40 Star Of Lanka.
LEOPARDSTOWN: 12.10 Powerful Ted, 12.40 Shanroe, 1.10 Wolf Prince, 1.45 Mrs Milner, 2.20 Fakir D'oudairies, 2.55 Crazyheart, 3.30 Ramillies.
LIMERICK: 12.25 Moghram, 12.55 Unexcepted, 1.30 Egality Mans, 2.05 Bay Ambition, 2.40 Faugheen, 3.15 Solar Heat, 3.50 Sacred Spring.
MARKET RASEN: 12.05 The Herds Garden, 12.35 Millers Bank, 1.05 Maxed Out King, 1.40 Sonic, 2.15 Cyclop, 2.50 Dr Oakley, 3.25 Hometown Boy.
SEDGEFIELD: 11.50 Excalibur, 12.25 Evander, 12.55 Ripstick, 1.30 Stonific, 2.05 Ringaringarosie, 2.40 Kingrullah, 3.15 Inisfree Spirit.
WETHERBY: 11.55 Miss Flying Fox, 12.30 Madera Mist, 1.00 Nye Bevan, 1.35 Sammy Bill, 2.10 Rocco, 2.45 Dubai Angel, 3.20 Pepper Street.
WINCANTON: 12.20 Never Learn, 12.55 Lisa De Vassy, 1.25 Duc De Beauchene, 2.00 Pres, 2.35 Annie Mc, 3.10 La Coeur Net, 3.45 Confirmation Bias.
WOLVERHAMPTON: 1.40 Ghaith, 2.15 Lady Melody, 2.50 Lady Red Moon, 3.25 King Oswald, 3.55 Nonios, 4.25 Renardeau, 4.55 Corinthia Knight.
DOUBLE: Lostintranslation and Fusil Raffles.