Captain Conan is set for his final run before the Cheltenham Festival in the Grade One Scilly Isle Novices’ Chase on Saturday at Sandown.
Nicky Henderson’s chaser has entries in the Arkle and the Jewson Novices’ Chase in March but it is unclear at this stage which race connections will target.
The two-time Grade One winner, a fixture of the betting news in recent months, missed the Festival last year but ran a respectable second behind Darlan at Aintree a month later in a Novice Hurdle contest.
The six-year old remains unbeaten in his campaign over fences after wins in both of his starts this season.
He made his chase debut at Prestbury Park back in November when getting the better of Sire De Grugy by two lengths. He then followed that up a month later with success at Sandown in a Grade One which included Hinterland and Third Intention.
Captain Conan will face a maximum of six rivals on Saturday, which could include Tap Night. The J.P McManus runner made a successful start to his chasing campaign with a five length victory at Ayr earlier this month.
The former American flat runner won four times over hurdles in the UK for Lucinda Russell but is now being aimed over fences.
Venetia Williams’ Houblon Des Obeaux has had plenty of experience in novice chases this season with four runs already under his belt. He opened his account up in his seasonal reappearance at Worcester.
He then stepped up in class to prevail at Wincanton a month later when going off at 9/1. He was unable to complete the hat-trick though, when disappointing after starting the favourite with sports betting news pundits at Newbury in a race won by Harry Topper.