Colin Tizzard has thrown his full support behind Lostintranslation's bid for Ladbrokes King George VI Chase glory, saying his nascent stable star has all the right attributes for Kempton's winter highlight.
Tizzard was speaking to the media at his Dorset yard on a miserable Tuesday morning, but he was glowing when discussing the chances of the impressive Betfair Chase winner, the sponsor's joint-favourite with Cyrname at 9-4.
The trainer also raised the intriguing possibility of fielding another candidate at Kempton on December 26 with last year's Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Native River a shock supplementary option if conditions are testing, while Thistlecrack – the King George winner in 2016 – is still in contention for one of the sport's most prestigious prizes.
Lostintranslation, however, is the trainer's main contender at the moment, and by some way.
Tizzard, who also captured the 2015 King George with his breakthrough horse Cue Card, said of the seven-year-old: "He's probably more unknown still compared to those two.
"Thistlecrack went there as a World Hurdle winner, while Cue Card had a few goes in it before he won. It is a furious race and they will go flat out – they normally do – and a stayer wins it.
"Lostintranslation beat Defi Du Seuil over two and a half miles last year, so he's got the pace and his stamina is pretty much guaranteed now. He's got everything going for him.
"I'm sure Cyrname will go flat out, which I think will help us. Lostintranslation is not a slow horse and we know he stays."
Tizzard doubts he will run three in the £250,000 contest and added: "Lostintranslation has got the best chance – there's no doubt. He's the young horse going forward and has everything.
"Bristol De Mai is a Haydock horse and might not have been at his best in the Betfair Chase, but we outstayed him and ours pricked his ears halfway up the run-in. He showed us he can stay. At home he looks all over a big, three-mile chaser, but he's got pace – he could lay up with Defi Du Seuil all last season."
Turning his attention to the opposition, Tizzard added: "Cyrname is a very fast horse. If he can go flat out and still win a King George he's a megastar, and don't forget Altior if he turns up. This is a huge race and we just want to make sure we've got ours right."
It would cost Native River's owners Garth and Anne Broom £10,000 to add their chestnut – a 16-1 shot with Ladbrokes – to the King George line-up.
The nine-year-old won his first race since his Gold Cup triumph under Richard Johnson at Aintree on Saturday, and Tizzard said: "We've not totally ruled out supplementing Native River if it got really wet and was set up to be run flat out for a stayer to take it at the end.
"Richard rang me yesterday and wanted to have a chat. It's the first time he's ever called me, so there's something to be said for it!
"He thinks Native River felt as good as he did two years ago. We haven't put anything to bed – it's just something that has come up in the last 48 hours. We're not sure and want our best route to the Gold Cup.
"He went to the Denman Chase at Newbury and then the Gold Cup a few years ago. He could go to the Grand National if we didn't do the Welsh National, which is a gruelling race off top weight, but that's the sort of race he's suited to.
"He still showed his old spark, even if you have to ask for it a bit. We couldn't have dreamed for any more at Aintree and he's come out of it well. We've just got to make sure he's in the right races until Cheltenham, so won't rule anything in or out.
"It would have to be heavy, which is unlikely, but we're in a different year this year and it's more like normal English weather, and if it rains every day for the next two weeks there's a chance he could be supplemented.
"I don't want to put people away and he might even go to the Welsh National, but we're keeping our options open – it's not a straightforward decision."
Thistlecrack, a general 16-1 for the King George, was second to staying king Paisley Park in the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury this month and could remain over hurdles for Ascot’s Marsh Hurdle if he bypasses Kempton.
Tizzard said: "It was a lovely run at Newbury and he could go to the King George, but he could also stay hurdling. It's 50-50 and he's a delicate horse; do we really want to run him in a ferocious King George, or do we turn up for Ascot?"