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.”