Jessica Harrington and Barry Geraghty are hoping Moscow Flyer can repay their faith with what would be an emotional third victory in the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham today.
The trainer and jockey have enjoyed huge success with the brilliant gelding at the Festival, winning the Queen Mother in 2003 and 2005, as well as the 2002 Arkle Trophy Chase.
However, the 12-year-old has not been showing his old sparkle of late, suffering a shock defeat at the hands of Central House in November before disappointing badly at Leopardstown over Christmas.
Harrington was also less than satisfied with Moscow Flyer when he galloped at Leopardstown two weeks ago, although she remains hopeful of a return to form.
"I've still got great faith in him and Barry has still got great faith in him as well," she said. "He's had a much better preparation for the race this year than he had last year.
"Last year he spent the last three weeks nursing a bruised foot but that's history - he's probably now just nursing old age. Whether he is too old we'll find out.
"He looks well, he is well, he's flying up the gallop at home. I think the bit of work he did at Leopardstown in hindsight wasn't as bad as we thought it was.
"I am positive and hopeful but whether he can do it, until he gets on the racecourse I don't know."
Moscow Flyer got the better of Well Chief and Azertyuiop in an epic renewal 12 months ago but with both of those rivals ruled out by injury, Geraghty believes his mount will not have to be up to that kind of form to prevail.
He said: "He didn't work as I thought he would at Leopardstown but he showed far more sparkle than he showed at Leopardstown over Christmas.
"I think the favourite Kauto Star is overrated. The Tingle Creek wasn't an overly exciting race to watch.
"I'm not a big fan of Kauto Star, I don't think he's that good.
"I think Moscow Flyer has gone down a bit, I don't think he's the horse he was but if he's a stone off what he was last year, it's a stone lesser race as there's no Well Chief, there's no Azertyuiop and he beat them last year.
"I'd be very hopeful he'd beat this lot."
Despite Geraghty's misgivings about the favourite, Kauto Star's trainer Paul Nicholls believes his six-year-old has a good chance of adding to his Tingle Creek victory at Sandown last December.
"I've always thought the world of him and I think he's one of our best chances at the meeting," the Ditcheat handler said.
"It's a pity I haven't been able to get another run into him [since the Tingle Creek] but things just didn't work out the way we hoped they would.
"It's nice to know that Tingle Creek winners have a good record in this race and he has been in grand form."
Kauto Star was bred in France but no horse trained across the Channel has been successful in this championship contest. Now Kario De Sormain, trained by Jean-Paul Gallorini, bids to put the record straight.
"The mare left MaisonsLaffitte at eight o'clock on Monday night and arrived at Cheltenham after a trouble-free trip at five o'clock on Tuesday morning," Gallorini said.
"I am happy to hear they have had some rain because she will appreciate any cut in the ground.
"I am really enjoying this new adventure of having a runner in the Queen Mother Champion Chase and it will be an emotional moment when I put the saddle on her.
"I have done my job, now it is up to the horse and the jockey."
Nigel Twiston-Davies admits he has not had a smooth run up to the race with Fundamentalist, who has been restricted to just two starts in the last 14 months.
The Naunton trainer said: "He hasn't had an ideal preparation, which is a shame.
"When he ran at Lingfield, Carl Llewellyn thought he was going nicely only for one of the other runners to jump across him and put him out, so we were none the wiser.
"He's pleased me since then and if he can recapture his excellent novice form he could have a big say."