Sire heads House entries
The BetVictor Queen Mother Champion Chase picture could become a whole lot clearer at Ascot on January 18 as an initial 19 entries were made for the Sodexo Clarence House Chase.
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The Grade One contest has been the stepping stone to Champion Chase success for four horses previously; Viking Flagship in 1994, Call Equiname in 1999, Master Minded in 2009 and Sprinter Sacre last year.
With the latter's participation at the Cheltenham Festival up in the air, this year's renewal might have an open look to it but Sire De Grugy could bid to stamp his authority further on the division following his wins in the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown and the Desert Orchid Chase at Newbury.
He heads 19 entries for the Ascot race, with the horses that chased him home at Sandown and Kempton, Somersby and Oiseau De Nuit, also potential runners.
The best of the Irish two-mile chase form could also be represented with Hidden Cyclone, Special Tiara and Days Hotel entered.
Nicky Henderson might be missing Sprinter Sacre but he still has three entries in Captain Conan, French Opera and Kid Cassidy, while Tom George is also triple-handed with Rody, Majala and Module.
There's a clutch of novices that could take their chance with Paul Nicholls' Hinterland a possible along with Alan King's Valdez and Emma Lavelle's Fox Appeal, while Nicholls also has Kauto Stone to call upon.
Astracad, Doeslessthanme and Lancetto complete the entries.