Nicky Henderson expects Barry Geraghty to remain loyal to Punjabi and ride him rather than Zaynar in the Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle.
The duo were the headline acts paraded before the cameras at Henderson's Lambourn yard on Monday morning for a Cheltenham Festival open day and the trainer displayed an infectious enthusiasm for the current title holder.
Despite being without success since his narrow Cheltenham success 12 months ago, Punjabi got back on the winning trail on Saturday and is 11-1 with totesport to retain his crown.
Zaynar is just 8-1 with the same firm despite being turned over in his prep at Kelso and champion jockey Tony McCoy is likely to partner the grey on March 16.
"AP will ride whatever Barry doesn't in the Champion," said Henderson.
"I think Barry will stick with Punjabi through loyalty but nothing is set in stone.
"Zaynar does stay very well. He won the Triumph last year but the Champion is run on an easier course and I think that will be against him."
Punjabi had plenty in hand when obliging at long odds-on at Kempton, and Henderson continued: "I was genuinely thrilled with him and I thought he was really, really good.
"When horses like him run with 20/30/40lb in hand then you don't really expect anything else but he was smart and Barry was really, really pleased.
"He had a good blow, it will have done the job and he is going there with everything looking rosy in the garden.
"Punjabi is a forgotten horse and unless he retains his crown he will go down as the most forgotten Champion Hurdle horse of all time.
"He has done very little wrong and is very, very good. He has also won the Champion Hurdle at Punchestown and was just beaten in the same race last year."
Triumph Hurdle winner Zaynar suffered his first defeat over timber when beaten as the 1-14 favourite by Quwetwo and Henderson believes the outing will have done him the world of good.
"He had a mighty blow after Kelso and people keep on telling me how good the winner is. In fact people did tell me the morning of the race but I forgot to do anything about it!" he said.
"Kelso proved he needed it badly and if we hadn't run then I would have been stuck.
"He is a surprisingly stuffy horse and I knew he needed the race."
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Champion Hurdle: William Hill
4-1 Go Native, Solwhit, 5-1 Dunguib, 7-1 Zaynar, 8-1 Medermit, 9-1 Khyber Kim, 10-1 Punjabi, 12-1 Voler La Vedette, 16-1 Celestial Halo, Starluck, 22-1 Sublimity, 33-1 Quevega, 50-1 Donnas Palm, 100 Al Eile, Ebadiyan, Jumbo Rio, Muirhead, Royal and Regal, Won in the Dark, 150-1 Blue Bajan, 200-1 Raise Your Heart, 250-1 Fiulin, Kargali, - (EW ¼ 1-2-3)