Nicky Henderson’s dual Queen Mother Champion Chase hero took the prize in 2017, 2018 and 2019 – but was denied a four-timer 12 months ago as racing was cancelled due to the pandemic.
Altior has just had the three races since that success two years ago and was beaten on his latest start at Kempton in December by Nube Negra.
He missed the Champion Chase at Cheltenham last month with a setback, where the latter, trained by Dan Skelton, was runner-up to the Henry de Bromhead-trained Put The Kettle On.
Nube Negra heads to Punchestown rather than Sandown, but Put The Kettle on does take her chance, with the line-up completed by Dolos, Greanateen, Ornua and Sceau Royal.
The Paul Nicholls-trained Frodon heads a field of four for the bet365 Oaksey Chase.
This season’s King George VI Chase winner drops back in trip after finishing fifth in the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Taking him on are Mister Fisher, Born Survivor and Militarian. Tiger Roll, the two-time Grand National victor, was one of the three horses withdrawn at the 48-hour final declaration stage.
The Young Master, winner of the bet365 Gold Cup in 2016, is one of 16 horses declared for the prestigious handicap chase over an extended three and a half miles. Trainer Neil Mulholland also runs Doing Fine while the weights are headed by Caroline Bailey’s Crosspark.
Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Minella Indo will face a maximum of 10 rivals when he bids to follow up at Punchestown on Wednesday.
Henry de Bromhead’s charge led home stablemate A Plus Tard to win the blue riband at Prestbury Park last month under Jack Kennedy, who will once again be on board in the Ladbrokes Punchestown Gold Cup next week.
British hopes will be carried by Paul Nicholls’ Clan Des Obeaux, who missed Sandown after being supplemented on Thursday morning at a cost of 25,000 euro.
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