Chigwell resident Ronnie O'Sullivan will be chasing a third consecutive Snooker World Championship when the tournament begins on Saturday, O'Sullivan won the 2013 Championship despite taking a year's sabbatical in the run-up to the tournament, becoming just the third player to win back to back titles by breezing past Barry Hawkins.

The world number 27 is the bookmaker's favourite to win his sixth World Championship at the Crucible next month.

O'Sullivan heads into the Championship in good form having won the Welsh Open on March 2.

A 9-3 win over Ding Junhui handed O'Sullivan his 26th ranking event victory and his third Welsh Open title.

Speaking after the win, O'Sullivan reiterated his burning desire to claim another World Championship victory.

"I've won so many tournaments now that you just accept it, it's part of the job," O'Sullivan told RTE.

"It's about stacking it up and getting the CV looking as nice as you possibly can so when you don't play, people can say he won this, won that, had this amount of maximum breaks, this amount of centuries.

"For me it's about winning all the major, major events: the UK, the Masters, the World."

O'Sullivan, 38, will look to continue a love affair with the competition which began when he won his first Championship against John Higgins in 2001.

Four further titles have followed and if O'Sullivan can do as expected and secure another title, he will move level with Steve Davis and Ray Reardon on six World Championships.

Davis, who trails Stephen Hendry's haul Championship haul by one, has no doubts that 'Rocket' can continue to dominate the sport beyond his 40th birthday.

"He is fitter and has more talent than anyone on the tour," Davis told the Daily Mail.

"He’s actually the one, not me or Stephen, who is set to push the boundaries of winning world titles in his forties.

"No one has got close since Ray Reardon. Maybe he could be first of today’s players to win a world title at 45."

Qualifiers will be drawn at random against the seeds on April 17, with O'Sullivan scheduled to play the opening match of the tournament.

There have been several surprises in qualification for the Championship, with six-time runner-up Jimmy White knocked out in the second round 10-4 by Ian Burns.

Veteran Davis is another to miss out after losing 10-8 to Craig Steadman in the second round of qualifying.