The participation of the Cheltenham Gold Cup fifth had been in doubt due to the drying ground, but with conditions currently described as good, Taaffe has declared the eight-year-old.
Nicky Henderson’s Juveigneur heads a strong British challenge. Just touched off in the William Hill Chase at Cheltenham, Henderson’s charge has also been placed in the Hennessy Gold Cup and the Welsh National.
One place behind Juveigneur at Cheltenham was Distant Thunder, who also lines up for Noel Chance.
Jonjo O’Neill’s National Hunt Chase winner Butler’s Cabin resurfaces, while Cloudy Lane, who gave Donald McCain Jnr his first Cheltenham Festival winner, also takes his chance.
And Ferdy Murphy, who won the race with Granit D’Estruval in 2004, relies on Eider Chase runner-up Nine De Sivola.
The home defence has been weakened by the absence of Homer Wells, but useful novices Patsy Hall, Chelsea Harbour and Gazza’s Girl hold strong claims.
Michael Hourigan runs three – A New Story, Kerryhead Windfarm and Church Island - while Paul Nolan is double-handed with Kill Devil Hill and Dix Villez.
Oulart, second 12 months ago, will attempt to go one better for Dessie Hughes. Noel Meade runs both Mattock Ranger and Mac Three, but arguably the most interesting runner is leading hunter chaser Whyso Mayo, who has his first run in handicap company for Raymond Hurley.