Dual winner Al Boum Photo heads 41 entries for this year’s Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Willie Mullins’ chaser could join Best Mate, Arkle and Cottage Rake as the fourth horse to record a hat-trick in the Festival’s feature contest.
The nine-year-old returned to action with a smooth success in the Grade 3 Savills New Year’s Day Chase at Tramore – the same race he won prior to his Prestbury Park victories in 2019 and 2020.
Joe and Marie Donnelly’s star is one of 17 Irish horses in the potential line-up, which includes Henry de Bromhead’s Savills Chase victor A Plus Tard and his stablemate Minella Indo.
The six horses behind Al Boum Photo in last year’s race; Santini, Lostintranslation, Monalee, Delta Work, Real Steel and Kemboy could renew rivalry.
King George VI Chase winner Frodon leads Paul Nicholls’ four entries, while Colin Tizzard has given 2018 hero Native River the option.
Ruth Jefferson has not committed the lightly-raced Waiting Patiently to the test, as he may step down in trip at the meeting instead.
“Waiting Patiently is very well at home and has come out of the King George absolutely bouncing,” she said.
“He has been doing handstands and was squealing yesterday morning because the lot was late going out.
“We have decided to enter him in all of the possible targets at the Cheltenham Festival just to keep our options open – at least for now.
“The Champion Chase, Ryanair Chase and the Gold Cup are all championship races and it just makes sense at this stage to keep him in all three.”
Gold Cup 2021 entries
Acapella Bourgeois (FR) 11 Slaneyville Syndicate W. P. Mullins IRE
Al Boum Photo (FR) 9 Mrs J. Donnelly W. P. Mullins IRE
Allaho (FR) 7 Cheveley Park Stud W. P. Mullins IRE
A Plus Tard (FR) 7 Cheveley Park Stud Henry de Bromhead IRE
Aso (FR) 11 The Bellamy Partnership Venetia Williams
Battleoverdoyen (IRE) 8 Gigginstown House Stud Gordon Elliott IRE
Black Op (IRE) 10 Mr R. S. Brookhouse Tom George
Bristol de Mai (FR) 10 Mr Simon Munir & Mr Isaac Souede Nigel Twiston-Davies
Burrows Saint (FR) 8 Mrs S. Ricci W. P. Mullins IRE
Castlebawn West (IRE) 8 Mrs Boyd,Mrs Armstrong,Exors JB Anderson W. P. Mullins IRE
Champ (IRE) 9 Mr John P. McManus Nicky Henderson
Cyrname (FR) 9 Mrs Johnny de la Hey Paul Nicholls
Delta Work (FR) 8 Gigginstown House Stud Gordon Elliott IRE
Frodon (FR) 9 Mr P. J. Vogt Paul Nicholls
Imperial Aura (IRE) 8 Imperial Racing Partnership 2016 Kim Bailey
Itchy Feet (FR) 7 Kate & Andrew Brooks Olly Murphy
Kemboy (FR) 9 Kemboy/Brett Graham/Ken Sharp Syndicate W. P. Mullins IRE
Lake View Lad (IRE) 11 Mr Trevor Hemmings N. W. Alexander
Lord du Mesnil (FR) 8 Mr Paul Porter & Mike & Mandy Smith Richard Hobson
Lostintranslation (IRE) 9 Taylor & O’Dwyer Colin Tizzard
Magic of Light (IRE) 10 Ann & Alan Potts Limited Mrs J. Harrington IRE
Master Tommytucker (GB) 10 Mr A. G. Fear Paul Nicholls
Melon (GB) 9 Mrs J. Donnelly W. P. Mullins IRE
Minella Indo (IRE) 8 Mr Barry Maloney Henry de Bromhead IRE
Mister Malarky (GB) 8 Wendy & Malcolm Hezel Colin Tizzard
Monalee (IRE) 10 Mr Barry Maloney Henry de Bromhead IRE
Native River (IRE) 11 Brocade Racing Colin Tizzard
Presenting Percy (GB) 10 Philip J. Reynolds Gordon Elliott IRE
Real Steel (FR) 8 Mrs Kathy Stuart & Sullivan Bloodstock Ltd Paul Nicholls
Royale Pagaille (FR) 7 Mrs S. Ricci Venetia Williams
Saint Calvados (FR) 8 Kate & Andrew Brooks Harry Whittington
Samcro (IRE) 9 Gigginstown House Stud Gordon Elliott IRE
Santini (GB) 9 Mr & Mrs R. Kelvin-Hughes Nicky Henderson
Shattered Love (IRE) 10 Gigginstown House Stud Gordon Elliott IRE
Simply The Betts (IRE) 8 Kate & Andrew Brooks Harry Whittington
Spyglass Hill (IRE) 8 Mr Niall O’Leary Henry de Bromhead IRE
Terrefort (FR) 8 Mr Simon Munir & Mr Isaac Souede Nicky Henderson
The Conditional (IRE) 9 Mr P. J. Cave David Bridgwater
Vinndication (IRE) 8 Moremoneythan Kim Bailey
Waiting Patiently (IRE) 10 Mr Richard Collins Ruth Jefferson
Yorkhill (IRE) 11 D & D Armstrong Ltd & Mr L Westwood Sandy Thomson