Top-weight Call Me Lord headed 27 five-day confirmations for the feature £150,000 G3 Betfair Exchange Trophy (3.35pm) at Ascot this Saturday, December 22, day two of the Christmas Racing Weekend.

The two-mile contest is among the most valuable handicap hurdles staged in Britain, bettered only by the £155,000 G3 Betfair Hurdle at Newbury in February.

Call Me Lord (11st 12lb, 14/1 with Betfair), one of three remaining entries for champion jump trainer Nicky Henderson, has yet to race this season and was last seen out when defeating Lil Rockerfeller by 16 lengths in the G2 Select Hurdle over just shy of two and three-quarter miles at Sandown Park in April.

He is no stranger to shouldering top-weight in prestigious handicaps, having gone down by a neck to Mr Antolini (Nigel Twiston-Davies, 10st 7lb, 10/1) in the two-mile G3 Imperial Cup at Sandown Park in March.

Henderson's other contenders are the J P McManus-owned pair of Apple's Shakira (10st 8lb, 25/1), a dual G2 winner in juvenile hurdles last season, and Charli Parcs (10st 10lb, 20/1). The Seven Barrows handler is the most successful trainer in the Betfair Exchange Trophy with four victories.

Ascot specialist Jolly's Cracked It (Harry Fry, 10st 13lb) is the 6/1 favourite with Betfair for the Betfair Exchange Trophy. Four of his five career victories have come over the course and distance at Ascot, most notably when dead-heating with Sternrubin in the 2015 edition of the Betfair Exchange Trophy.

Jolly's Cracked It, now a nine-year-old, has only raced twice since that triumph and defied a 706-day absence on his latest start when defeating Chatez (Alan King, 9st (minimum weight 10st), 16/1) by six lengths in the Coutts Handicap Hurdle at Ascot on November 23.

Trainer Harry Fry, whose yard is in Dorset, said: "Jolly's Cracked It came out of his victory at Ascot in good form.

"It was great to see him roll back the years after 706 days off with a tendon injury.

"We had been pleased with him at home, but he still had it to do giving weight all round to some decent rivals. It was great to see the patience of his owners, the GDM Partnership, rewarded.

"All being well, he will return to Ascot on Saturday for the race that he won back in 2015."

Northern challenger Nietzsche (Brian Ellison, 9st 12lb, 10/1) is in excellent form, having captured the G3 Greatwood Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham last month under promising conditional jockey Danny McMenamin.

Nietzsche contested the Betfair Exchange Trophy in 2017 as a four-year-old, coming home 10th.

Brian Ellison, who trains in North Yorkshire, remarked: "It was great to win a big handicap hurdle like that at Cheltenham and Nietzsche has come out of it in good form.

"A lot of juvenile hurdles lose their way in their second season - he was the same and we didn't know why as he used to work so well.

"This year, he has returned to form and was a good second at Newmarket before his win at Cheltenham, which set him up well for the Greatwood. The tongue-tie we put on him also helped.

"We will see how he is, but Ascot on Saturday is a possibility."

Wiltshire-based trainer Alan King's three entries are headed by Fidux (10st 11lb, 8/1), who was a convincing eight-length winner of the Bet With Ascot Handicap Hurdle over course and distance on November 3, and Listed Gerry Feilden Handicap Hurdle second Lisp (10st 6lb, 12/1).

Other in-form contenders include Western Ryder (Warren Greatrex, 10st 11lb, 12/1), who finished third in last Saturday's G2 International Hurdle at Cheltenham, and Man Of Plenty (Sophie Leech, 9st 12lb, 10/1), the winner of a valuable Listed handicap hurdle at Sandown Park earlier this month.

Gloucestershire handler Sophie Leech could also be represented by Garo De Juilley (10st 4lb, 20/1), winner of the G3 Silver Trophy Handicap Hurdle at Chepstow in October.

Olly Murphy enjoyed his first big success as a trainer in the Betfair Exchange Trophy 12 months ago with Hunter's Call, an Irish import who was having his first start for the Warwickshire stable.

Murphy could bid to repeat the feat this year with six-year-old Fiesole (9st 13lb, 10/1), who was last seen out when landing a handicap hurdle at Tipperary in October for trainer Eoin Doyle.

Tornado Watch (Emmet Mullins IRE, 9st 13lb, 12/1), the one Irish-trained runner among the confirmations, finished second Jury Duty in the G1 Grand National Hurdle at Far Hills, USA, on his penultimate start.

Cheltenham Festival scorers Flying Tiger (Nick Williams, 9st 13lb, 12/1) and Mohaayed (Dan Skelton, 10st 11lb, 12/1) also remain engaged for Saturday's Betfair Exchange Trophy, in which a maximum field of 21 can participate.

The going at Ascot is currently Soft, with an unsettled weather forecast.