Alan King's eight-year-old barely put a foot wrong last year, culminating in victory in the Arkle Trophy.
The likes of Nube Negra are going to present a different dimension in terms of opposition now, but ground conditions are about spot on to start off with and he can throw his hat into the ring for even bigger challenges ahead against the likes of Shishkin and Energumene.
A host of smart prospects take their chance in the Sky Bet Supreme Trial Novices' Hurdle, with Springwell Bay a must for the shortlist.
His jumping bow came at Carlisle last month and he could not have been much more impressive in the way he did it. His hurdling was sound in the main, and something about the way he moved throughout before powering clear marked him out as above average.
Fantastikas gets the nod in the Jewson Click And Collect Handicap Chase for local trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies.
The seven-year-old was disappointingly pulled up in the Scottish Grand National when last seen, but prior to that had marked himself down as a high-class chaser in the making, with two wins at Lingfield sandwiching placed efforts in Graded company behind Threeunderthrufive and L'Homme Presse.
With further progress likely this season, a mark of 142 for his first outing this term looks workable.
The Willie Mullins-trained Dads Lad has to be of major interest in the Unibet Greatwood Hurdle.
The seven-year-old may not be one of the champion trainer's leading lights, but he has already enjoyed a profitable campaign with summer wins at Limerick, Galway and Killarney followed by a chase win at Cheltenham last month that sent his syndicate owners into raptures.
The British handicapper has not taken any chances on his return to the smaller obstacles as he competes from a perch of 128 here, some 11lb higher than his hurdles rating in Ireland.
However, he is still well-in compared to his chase mark and with good ground to suit, he is expected to be there or thereabouts at the business end of proceedings.
The pick in the mallardjewellers.com Novices' Chase is the Gordon Elliott-trained Indigo Breeze.
Useful over hurdles, he fell first time out over fences but is getting his act together and bumped into one in the shape of Banbridge most recently. This race is not as strong as it could be and he should be right in the mix.
Roger Pol has every chance in the High Sheriff Of Gloucestershire Open National Hunt Flat Race.
The four-year-old was well-supported in a bumper at Worcester and rewarded that support in good style. He is well related as well, as a brother to the Grade One-placed Minella Crooner.
Southfield Harvest can make winning return from 557 days off the track in the Sky Sports Racing Sky 415 Southern National at Fontwell, while a quality card at Navan features the return of Ferny Hollow.
The 2020 Champion Bumper winner has not been seen in competitive action since making it two from two over fences in a Grade One at Leopardstown last Christmas, but Mullins has made positive noises about his well-being in recent weeks.
The Sean P. Muldoon & Patrick F. Gormley Fortria Chase looks an ideal starting point to his season.
CHELTENHAM: 1.10 Indigo Breeze, 1.45 Edwardstone, 2.20 Fantastikas, 2.55 Dads Lad, 3.30 SPRINGWELL BAY (NAP), 4.00 Roger Pol.
FONTWELL: 12.30 Pedley Wood, 1.00 Tip Top Mountain, 1.30 Trojan Horse, 2.05 Southfield Harvest, 2.40 Aggagio, 3.15 Dindin, 3.50 Brown Bullet.
NAVAN: 11.45 Neigh Botha, 12.15 Maxxum, 12.45 Flame Bearer, 1.20 Imagine, 1.55 Flooring Porter, 2.30 Ferny Hollow, 3.05 Fortunedefortunata, 3.40 Found A Fifty.
DOUBLE: Springwell Bay and Edwardstone.