Nicholls keeping his Friend at home.
The course needs to pass a 7.30am inspection in order for the big meeting to get the go-ahead as thawing snow has left patches of surface water.
However, the prospect of heavy ground was enough to help Nicholls decide to keep Sir Alex Ferguson's chaser at home.
Nicholls said: "Due to heavy ground and waterlogging, we have decided against sending What A Friend to Ireland."
In his absence last year's runner-up Money Trix is back for another crack for Nicky Richards while The Listener is due to have his first run for 416 days.
Paul Nolan's Irish Hennessy winner Joncol was third in the race last season and connections will be looking to see him improve on his lacklustre seasonal reappearance.
Pandorama, one of Ireland's leading novices last term, looks to add to his Grade One tally after having a luckless trip to England for the Hennessy.
Willie Mullins runs Cooldine and J'y Vole, who both ran well in the rearranged John Durkan Chase, while stablemate Kempes will join them.
Glencove Marina and Let Yourself Go step up in trip while Mossbank, Notre Pere and Siegemaster are all engaged.
Vic Venturi, a stablemate of Siegemaster, has his first run since unseating his rider in the Grand National when going well and completes a high class field of 13.