Hardy Eustace will bid to join the racing greats at Cheltenham today when he goes for glory in the Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle.
Only Hatton's Grace, Sir Ken, Persian War, See You Then and Istabraq have managed three triumphs in the blue riband and Dessie Hughes' star is a 6-1 chance to join that elite group.
In attempting his fourth successive victory at the Festival - he also won the Royal & SunAlliance Hurdle in 2003 - he will be sporting a visor for the first time.
"I've always thought he doesn't particularly want blinkers," said Hughes. "The first time we tried them was after he won the SunAlliance Hurdle as he seemed to run lazily and then he won the Champion in them, so we were afraid to leave them off.
"If he was to be in front going to the last like he was last year then at least he will see horses coming at him this time.
"His preparation hasn't been as straightforward this year but he is back to his best now, no-one need worry about that."
Hughes was linked to Cheltenham intrinsically in the past with another dual Champion Hurdler Monksfield, and the similarity of the two horses is not lost on the former top-class jockey.
"He is very similar to Monksfield in many ways," he continued. "They both stayed beyond two miles and that is what you need to do as it is such a strongly run race. Hardy stays well and he has a little turn of foot."
Hughes is also unconcerned about the likely prospect of him being taken on for the lead by habitual front runners Fiepes Shuffle and The French Furze.
"We are not bothered if he gets taken on because he wants a good pace," he said. "He didn't make the running in the SunAlliance. A lead could help him really, he wants a strong gallop and he wouldn't have to do the donkey work. He's only made the running in the past because nobody else has gone on."
Last year's third Brave Inca reopposes and is rightly at the head of the betting after a hugely successful season. Since teaming up with champion jockey Tony McCoy, he has four victories from five races to his name with the only defeat coming over two and a half miles. And trainer Colm Murphy is now hoping for that all important ingredient: luck.
"Everything has gone fine since his last run and we are just hoping that he has a bit of luck in running now," he said.
"He's a much stronger horse now than last year. He'd won the Supreme the year before that as well so we also know he likes the track.
"Since Tony has been riding him he just seems to have found that little bit of improvement, they bring the best out of each other."
Jessica Harrington also issued an upbeat report on Macs Joy, who finished fifth 12 months ago. His campaign this term has been based around this race, however, and his trainer said: "He travelled over well, ate up last night and had a nice stretch of his legs this morning. Everything seems to be going to plan.
"He did beat Brave Inca last year but we have got to respect that horse and Hardy Eustace too as he always comes there in good form. I don't mind what the ground is like for him really - I'm not too worried.
He's better on good ground but can handle it a bit softer."
Owner Graham Wylie, who enjoyed a fabulous Festival last year with three winners, has a few live chances again this week, starting with the Howard Johnson-trained Arcalis.
"I'm looking forward to it but I'm not expecting too much," Wylie said. "He just needs that bit of luck in running.
"It's only his third run on the big stage so he still has it to prove really. Fingers crossed he'll put in a clear round.
"Last year he won the Supreme in a time two seconds slower than the Champion Hurdle but he has definitely strengthened up since then. I think if he runs his race he will be in the shake-up.
"The ground quickening up will help because we've had really soft ground all winter which everyone knows he doesn't like."