There is a 48-strong entry for the Ryanair Chase with the 2008 winner Our Vic one of three engaged by David Pipe. Several Seasons Holidays Queen Mother Champion Chase entries have also been given the option of the longer Ryanair Chase, run over two miles and five furlongs, with champion trainer Paul Nicholls who has won half of the four runnings to date again boasting a powerful hand.
Noland, winner of the Grade One John Durkan Memorial Chase at Punchestown on December 9, is one of seven entered by Nicholls, with his powerful team also including Gwanako, Natal, Oslot, Silverburn, Takeroc and Twist Magic. Voy Por Ustedes and Tidal Bay have also been given the Ryanair Chase option while the formers stablemate, leading novice chaser Araldur, is also engaged.
Paddy Power Gold Cup hero Imperial Commander, Lexus Chase winner Exotic Dancer, Peterborough Chase first and second, Monets Garden and Snoopy Loopy, and the Queens Barbers Shop are among a string of other high-class entries. French handler Marcel Rolland could bid for a first Cheltenham success with Original, a nine-length winner of the Grade Two Wayward Lad Novices Chase at Kempton on December 27 while there is a powerful 13-strong entry from Ireland.
All five Irish-trained Seasons Holidays Queen Mother Champion Chase entries - Big Zeb, JY Vole, Newmill, Scotsirish and Thyne Again are also in the Ryanair Chase while Tom Taaffe has three high-class representatives in Finger Onthe Pulse, Glenfinn Captain and Slim Pickings. Knight Legend, Schindlers Hunt, Skys The Limit, Snowy Morning and Vic Venturi complete the list of possible Irish raiders.