Although most of the pre-race attention has revolved around the entries from the David Pipe and Paul Nicholls stables, this six-year-old grey has almost been discounted in certain quarters.
Given his hot run of form, it could prove a bad miscalculation.
Trained by the capable Ian Williams, Ile De Re returns to Esher in pursuit of a hat-trick, having easily won two novice hurdles. His last victory over this course and distance was especially pleasing as he was clearly unsuited by a stop-start pace before fighting back to score by half a length.
Although that form should perhaps be treated with caution, a rattling gallop in the Imperial Cup will almost certainly pay dividends.
Williams will also be more aware than most that his charge has a lovely racing weight of 10st 3lb, which, statistically, is crucial in this race.
And while a great deal is made of the sponsors’ cash bonus for a horse to win this en route to Cheltenham glory, Gaspara remains the last horse to achieve the double way back in 2007.
Ile De Re, by contrast to many of his rivals here, has no such a distraction and is likely to have had this as his primary aim since winning at Sandown.
Deuteronomy should be far happier with his lot upon his return to Ayr for the Dennis Clancy & Sons Ltd Irvine Handicap Chase.
Although the 11-year-old gelding, trained by John Wade, was hardly disgraced on his last try in Scotland in January, he admittedly looked a little flat-footed when finishing third in a handicap chase.
To that end, the decision to step him back up considerably in trip would appear wise for a horse who is not a bad performer in the right frame of mind. The same can be said of Nelson Du Ronceray, who competes in the Dr John Cleland Retirement Handicap Chase.
Trained by the little-known Iain Jardine, this 11-year-old simply adores Ayr – especially when the mud is flying.
Four course-and-distance victories is a pretty compelling statistic, while the determination he showed in winning here a couple of months ago suggests he could be strong enough to overcome a 7lb rise.