Sire De Grugy is the star name with Sprinter Sacre understandably absent from the 19 entries in the Sodexho Clarence House Chase at Ascot on January 18.
Gary Moore's chestnut capitalised when Sprinter Sacre swerved the Tingle Creek at Sandown, and was left with the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton at his mercy when Nicky Henderson's superstar dropped out of the race with his well-publicised heart issue, from which he is recovering.
The 2012 winner Somersby is in the line-up along with three possible Irish runners - the Henry de Bromhead pair Days Hotel and Special Tiara and the Shark Hanlon-trained Hidden Cyclone.
Sprinter Sacre's trainer Nicky Henderson still has live chances to land the Grade One through Captain Conan, French Opera and Kid Cassidy while his old rival Paul Nicholls has Kauto Stone and the novice Hinterland in the line-up.
Several other trainers of good novices have also given their youngsters the option in the big league, with Alan King's Valdez and Emma Lavelle's Fox Appeal both having made a bright start to their chasing careers.
The latter bolted up in a Grade Two novice at the Berkshire track before Christmas.