The five-year-old goes for this valuable handicap hurdle on the back of a win at Haydock four weeks ago – his first outing since April.
“I’m pleased with him. It’s a very competitive race, obviously, and it’s a step up in grade, but he’s in good form,” said the Cholmondeley trainer.
“He’s ready to go, so we’ll see where we stand.”
Prospect Wells, the Paul Nicholls-trained novice, has headed the ante-post market on the strength of two wins and a second from three starts over timber.
The former Howard Johnson-trained six-year-old, owned by Graham Wylie, had smart form on the Flat in France and is very much an unknown quantity over jumps.
He is one of three runners from the powerful Nicholls stable and is the mount of Ruby Walsh, with 7lb claimers aboard the champion trainer’s other two representatives, Brampour and Tonic Mellysse.
“You’d love to have more runs under your belt over hurdles but more runs means a higher handicap (mark) and you have to try and exploit the mark you are on,” said Walsh.
“I was very impressed with him at Newbury, I think he had improved a good bit there from Cheltenham and he’s going in the right direction.
“Ascot should suit, and novices have a good record in handicaps. He was plenty straightforward (at Newbury), he travelled super and jumped well.
“He got a bit idle on the run-in, but Newbury is a long straight and Ascot will be grand for him,” the jockey told Racing UK.
Brian Ellison is expecting a bold show from Abergavenny .
Abergavenny, a useful performer on the Flat, won three novice events in the spring and put up a top effort in finishing third to Brampour in the Greatwood at Cheltenham five weeks ago.
“Abergavenny ran a blinder in the Greatwood for one so inexperienced – it was only his fourth run over hurdles,” said the North Yorkshire.
“Before that he’d won three small novice races but he ran great and you’d hope he’d have learnt from it.”