Ar Mad and his jockey Joshua Moore both return from injury to contest the 188Bet Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter on Tuesday.
Moore has steered his father Gary’s stable star to each of his four victories over fences and was also on board when he finished a highly creditable fourth in the Tingle Creek at Sandown almost a year ago.
Ar Mad has been sidelined by injury since, while Moore has not ridden since suffering a broken ankle in early August.
Moore said: “I’ve been riding out and schooling for a while and I’m looking forward to getting back.
“Ar Mad is in good form. He obviously hasn’t run since the Tingle Creek last year so we’ll see how he goes. This is a starting point as much as anything.
“We just want to get a run into him as although he ran very well in the Tingle Creek, he was very gassy for a lot of the race.
“The Tingle Creek will be target again, I would have thought, as he likes Sandown, so hopefully we can get a run under his belt and he comes out of it well.”
Like his big-race mount, the jockey has suffered more than his fair share of injury problems in the last 12 months, having also dislocated his shoulder in a fall at Huntingdon on Boxing Day of last year.
Gary Moore said: “Im looking forward to getting him (Ar Mad) started.
“If he’s good enough to go and win all well and good, but the main thing is he comes back safe and sound.
“I want a full season out of him and the jockey.”
Tom George is hoping Sir Valentino can maintain his progress as he bids for back-to-back victories in the Grade Two contest.
The eight-year-old saw off the reopposing Garde La Victoire by a short-head 12 months ago and although he did not get on the scoresheet again last season, he performed with credit at a high level, most notably when finishing third in the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham.
Sir Valentino goes for a repeat success off a 13lb higher rating,but George could not be happier with his charge.
“He’s in good form and has been going nicely at home,” said the Slad-based handler
“He’s come a long way in the last 12 months, from where he started off to being placed in the Champion Chase.
“Let’s hope he can keep that going.”
Brian Elllison’s Forest Bihan has a race fitness edge over some of his rivals, having impressed on his seasonal reappearance at Kelso a month ago.
Ellison said: “He seems in good form and I think he’s improved over the summer.
“He was good at Kelso and I definitely think he’s improved for the run.”
Paul Nicholls has won the Haldon Gold Cup five times, most notably with future Champion Chase winners Flagship Uberalles (1999) and Azertyuiop (2004).
This year the Ditcheat maestro saddles Politologue and San Benedeto, while his 2015 winner of this race, Vibrato Valtat, makes his first appearance since moving to Emma Lavelle’s yard.
“Touch wood he’s been really good and we’re looking forward to getting him started,” said Lavelle.
“He’d obviously lost his way a little but, so we’re hoping the change of scene might just revitalise him.
“He seems to be enjoying himself and rightly or wrongly we’re leaving the headgear off him. We’re starting from scratch.
“It’s a little bit of a fact-finding mission from our point of view, so we’ll see how he goes.”
The Philip Hobbs-trained Garde La Victoire has also had a run this autumn, finishing second over hurdles at Auteuil.
Gino Trail, trained by Kerry Lee, completes the eight-strong field.