Douvan, who has been off the track since last year's shock Champion Chase defeat, is among the entries for this year's renewal at the Cheltenham Festival and is also among those in the mix for the Ryanair Chase at the Festival

Trainer Willie Mullins did reveal last month that the eight-year-old would not see action at all this term, but not connections feel there is a chance of a return to the big stage.

Mullins has nine entries to pick from, including last year's Ryanair Chase winner Un De Sceaux, who is also entered in that race again, Min and Yorkhill. 

Last year's winner Special Tiara, trained by Henry de Bromhead, also features among 17 Irish entries, with five contenders hailing from Gordon Elliott's yard.

Like Douvan, Altior, last season's Arkle Chase victor, has yet to race this term. Trainer Nicky Henderson revealed that the horse had undergone a wind operation in November but is working towards the 14 March event. Henderson also has Top Notch involved.

Paul Nicholls' Politologue has emerged as a major player for the two-mile crown after winning his first three starts this term, including the Tingle Creek Chase, and he could be joined by San Benedeto. 

Un De Sceaux en route to winning last year's Ryanair

Last year's winner Un De Sceaux leads the way after 44 entries were unveiled for the Ryanair Chase on day three of the Prestrbury Park extravaganza

Mullins' charge beat Sub Lieutenant 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.

The Co Carlow trainer has also entered JLT Novices' Chase winner Yorkhill, who disappointed over three miles last time out, Min, Ladbrokes Trophy winner Total Recall, Killultagh Vic and Djakadam.

Henry de Bromhead also has three possibles in Balko Des Flos, Sub Lieutenant and Valseur Lido, with Gordon Elliott also potentially triple-handed in 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.