Paul Townend has sided with last year's winner Min over Allaho in the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham - for which there are 14 declarations.

Allaho, who will be ridden by Rachael Blackmore on Thursday, has been ante-post favourite since winning a Grade Two at Thurles last time out - but Townend will partner his tried-and-trusted Willie Mullins-trained stablemate.

Mullins also runs Melon, who has finished second at the Festival four years in succession. He will be ridden by Bryan Cooper, with Danny Mullins on a fourth Closutton contender Tornado Flyer.

Saint Calvados was only a neck behind Min 12 months ago, and is back once more for Harry Whittington and Gavin Sheehan.

Kim Bailey's Imperial Aura won at the meeting last season and began his season in great style, winning at Carlisle and Ascot, but has been absent since an early departure at Kempton.

Dashel Drasher was a popular winner of the Ascot Chase for Jeremy Scott and Matt Griffiths, and will aim to add another Grade One to his tally.

Samcro, a dual Festival winner, needs to bounce back to his best for Denise Foster - while Chris's Dream represents Henry de Bromhead.

Fakir D'oudairies (Joseph O'Brien), Fanion D'Estruval (Venetia Williams), Kalashnikov (Amy Murphy), Mister Fisher (Nicky Henderson) and Real Steel (Paul Nicholls) have all been declared too