Altior and Defi Du Seuil are two of eight entries for the Matchbook Clarence House Chase at Ascot.
Nicky Henderson’s Altior has not been seen in competitive action since suffering his first defeat in 20 starts over obstacles when runner-up to Cyrname in a much anticipated clash at Ascot in November.
The 10-year-old missed an intended outing in last week’s Desert Orchid Chase due an abscess, but could return to defend his Clarence House crown on January 18.
Defi Du Seuil is unbeaten in two starts this season for Philip Hobbs – making a successful reappearance in the Shloer Chase at Cheltenham before getting the better of the Willie Mullins-trained Un De Sceaux in a thrilling renewal of the Tingle Creek at Sandown.
The pair could renew rivalry in Berkshire, with Un De Sceaux given the option of bidding for a fourth win in this Grade One contest, having rattled off a hat-trick between 2016 and 2018.
Henderson has also entered Haldon Gold Cup winner Janika, who finished fourth when favourite for the Relkeel Hurdle at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day.
Champion trainer Paul Nicholls has Capeland and Magic Saint in contention, while Ruth Jefferson could saddle Waiting Patiently.
The Flemensfirth gelding has not managed to get his head in front since seeing off the popular Cue Card in the 2018 Ascot Chase, but ran his best race since when beaten just a length into third in the Tingle Creek.
Jefferson said: “As long as they get some rain, the plan is to run at Ascot.
“He ran a very good race at Sandown and we’ve been very happy with him since. We weren’t afraid to come back to two miles on soft ground. I think a few people thought we were a bit mad, but I think he vindicated that decision.
“He’ll have sharpened up for it as it was his first run of the season and Defi Du Seuil had already had a run.
“It looks a good race, but there’s no such thing as an easy Grade One and we’re looking forward to it.”
Marracudja from Dan Skelton’s yard completes the potential field.