Racing Post previews some of the top contenders for this year's Cheltenham Festival

There's not long to go now before the greatest week in jump racing - so get your Cheltenham hat on with these five exciting contenders.

Altior - Queen Mother Champion Chase 
Nicky Henderson’s supremo is on course to defend his crown in the Champion Chase. He is unbeaten in his last 17 starts and this season has been straightforward with wins already at Sandown, Kempton and Ascot. Many will find it hard to imagine that Altior will not be in the Cheltenham Festival winner's enclosure come March.

Buveur D’Air - Champion Hurdle 
Buveur D’Air made a promising start to the season with an easy win in the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle. However, his next outing resulted in a shock defeat to stablemate Verdana Blue in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton. He will need to bounce back quickly to win a third consecutive Champion Hurdle.

Tiger Roll - Cross Country Chase
Tiger Roll just keeps on winning at the Cheltenham Festival - he made it three wins last year with success in the Cross Country Chase following victories in the Triumph Hurdle and the four-mile National Hunt Chase. He then went on to win the Grand National at Aintree. His owners Gigginstown have already suggested the Cross Country will be his target once again - although he does hold a Gold Cup entry, just in case . . .

Lalor - Arkle Chase 
Lalor has been at the forefront of the Arkle picture since his impressive victory at Cheltenham in November. Although unable to follow up in tough conditions at Sandown in the Henry VIII Novices' Chase, he will go to Cheltenham as a serious contender if the ground is good come March.

Glen Forsa - Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase
Glen Forsa will be aiming to give the owner-trainer combo of Tim Radford and Mick Channon another success in this race after they won last year with Mister Whitaker. The form of Glen Forsa's most recent win at Kempton on Boxing Day is already looking strong - bookmakers have paid close attention and made him a warm favourite - and he has a similar profile to last year's winner.

by The Racing Post at Rewards4Racing

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