The field is headed by defending champion Un De Sceaux while the legendary Cue Card attempts to end his career on a winning note eight years after winning Cheltenham’s Champion Bumper.
Yet, after North Yorkshire-based Jefferson chose not to run stable star Waiting Patiently in this Grade One race, she knew she had a more than able replacement in the admirably consistent Cloudy Dream.
The mount of Brian Hughes, a Festival winner on Tuesday, has been runner-up on his four most recent starts, most recently when chasing home leading Gold Cup contender Native River at Newbury.
And victory for Cloudy Dream, stepping back in trip to two miles five furlongs, would be incredibly emotional – Jefferson only took out a licence last month following the death of her hugely popular father Malcolm who was a trainer of great repute.
“We felt he was unlucky in the Old Roan at Aintree and then we took on Fox Norton over two miles before he ran over three miles twice,” said Jefferson, who is content with the distance of today’s race.
“Behind Native River at Newbury, we felt if he couldn’t see out the trip there, he wasn’t going to get it (at Cheltenham) so the Ryanair looks his ideal trip.
“It was a very good run behind Altior in the Arkle, even though some thought Charbel might have been in front of him, you don’t know.
“He’s very consistent and at a high level, I don’t think he’s done a lot wrong and most people would love to train him,” Jefferson added.
Meanwhile, Definitly Red, who beat Cloudy Dream in the Old Roan Chase at Aintree, has been declared for tomorrow’s blue riband Gold Cup.
Trained at Malton by Brian Ellsion and the mount of Danny Cook, Phil Martin’s horse is attempting to become the first Yorkshire-trained winner of the celebrated race since Jodami prevailed for Peter Beaumont and Mark Dwyer 25 years ago.