Douvan leads Champion Chase ten on Wednesday

Douvan: last year's Arkle hero one of ten in Champion Chase

PICTURE: Edward Whitaker ( Douvan leads Champion Chase ten on Wednesday By David Baxter 10:45AM 13 MAR 2017

THE clash between Altior and Douvan will have to wait for another season, as Altior will stay in novice company for the Racing Post Arkle.

A long odds-on shot, Nicky Henderson's unbeaten chaser was given an entry for the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase, though the Arkle was always the preference and he was duly taken out of the Champion Chase on Monday morning.

Fox Norton, God's Own and Special Tiara are among those brave enough to take on Douvan for Wednesday's highlight, as Willie Mullins's seven-year-old attempts to make it ten from ten over fences.

Altior is also a long odds-on shot in the Arkle, and will take on eight opponents, including A Hare Breath, Charbel, Royal Caviar and Some Plan.

Melon a nice starter for Mullins

Mullins has four of the 14 entries for the Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle, headed by Melon.

The five-year-old made a winning debut by ten lengths over hurdles at Leopardstown in January, though that form has since taken some knocks.

Bunk Off Early, Cilaos Emery and Crack Mome complete the Mullins quartet, with Ballyandy and River Wylde also declared.

The three handicaps on day one of the Cheltenham Festival have maximum fields, though Value At Risk, 10-1 third-favourite for the Close Brothers Novices' Handicap Chase and the choice of Harry Skelton, was not declared while second-favourite Romain De Senam was balloted out.

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