Mullins sides with Ballycasey for Ascot assignment

Willie Mullins has chosen Ballycasey over Champagne Fever as his representative in the Betfair Ascot Chase tomorrow.

Mullins sides with Ballycasey for Ascot assignment

Although longer in the ante-post betting for the Grade 1 contest, Ballycasey gets the nod ahead of his fellow Rich and Susannah Ricci-owned grey, who looks set to stay at home to run in the same day’s Grade 2 Red Mills Chase at Gowran Park.

Ballycasey finished fourth in last year’s RSA Chase on his only start in Britain and is a best-priced 6-1 chance with the sponsors after being declared in a small but select field of six.

Strong support for Ptit Zig in recent days has propelled the Paul Nicholls-trained novice into 2-1 joint-favouritism with Balder Succes, while Ma Filleule, Rajdhani Express and Theatre Guide complete the sextet.

The Alan King-trained Balder Succes, a Grade 1-winning novice last season, comes into the 2m5f event on the back of a decisive ten-length victory at Kempton over a furlong shorter.

King said: “He seems in very good form. Ascot has been the target since Kempton and everything has gone well. He had a little school this morning and we are very happy with him.

“I’m looking forward to running him, but it is going to be a very good race and I have a lot of respect for the other five. I think the slight step up in trip will be okay. He wasn’t stopping at Kempton and he won over two and a half around Chepstow a couple of years ago.”

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