Un De Sceaux
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Sandown Park Racecourse

Last year’s winner Un De Sceaux leads the way after 44 entries were unveiled for the Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.

Willie Mullins’ charge beat Sub Lieutenant by a length and a half in last year’s two-mile-five-furlong feature and made an impressive return to action when winning the Hilly Way Chase at Cork last month.

Mullins has also entered Douvan, who has been off the track since last year’s shock Champion Chase defeat, as well as JLT Novices’ Chase winner Yorkhill, who disappointed over three miles last time out.

The champion trainer has made a total of 14 entries with Min, Ladbrokes Trophy winner Total Recall, Killultagh Vic and Djakadam also given the option.

Nicky Henderson’s Top Notch chased home Yorkhill last March and is in the mix with stablemates L’Ami Serge and and Gold Present.

Henry de Bromhead also has three possibles in Balko Des Flos, Sub Lieutenant and Valseur Lido, with Gordon Elliott otentially triple- handed with A Toi Phil, Ball D’Arc and Outlander.

Clan Des Obeaux, Frodon and Le Prezien could run for Paul Nicholls, while Colin Tizzard has entered Fox Norton along with Cue Card, although the latter is also in the reckoning for the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Other contenders worth noting include Alan King’s popular veteran Smad Place, Tom George’s Double Shuffle and Malcolm Jefferson’s pair of Cloudy Dream and Waiting Patiently.