Balder Succes carries the ante-post favourite tag into The Ladbroke at Ascot on Saturday.
Alan King's four-year-old was fancied in the Triumph Hurdle and at the Punchestown Festival in the spring, but failed to complete either race. This season he as run respectably behind Champion Hurdle hope Zarkandar at Wincanton and won well at Haydock.
"You need an improving young hurdler to win this competitive race and we got lucky with Raya Star last year but, whereas he went into the race rated 134, Balder Succes is off a mark of 147, so there is no doubt that he has the class," King told www.alankingracing.co.uk.
"Balder Succes's third to Zarkandar in the Elite Hurdle at Wincanton last month looks pretty good form after last week's International Hurdle at Cheltenham. Our fellow has since won in the soft at Haydock, and I would not swap him for anything."
His jockey Robert Thornton told At The Races: "He's in cracking form. His run behind Zarkandar and Prospect Wells at Wincanton looks very good now and he did what we thought he would at Haydock.
"He's been schooling well, he's been working well and he'll improve from Haydock. He's got weight to carry but he likes Ascot and the ground shouldn't be a problem. He's got the weight because he deserves it, he's one of the better horses in the race and travels very well so this sort of race should suit."
Ranjaan has been all the rage in recent days for Highclere Thoroughbred Racing and Paul Nicholls. Forced to miss the Triumph Hurdle in March, this will be his first run since January.
"It's very exciting to be going with a good chance but it looks a very open race. It will be a mighty slog for all concerned on this ground and there are lots of variables, but Paul Nicholls has been very pleased with him," said Harry Herbert, who represent the owners.
"He has schooled very well and worked very well and we always thought last year he had the make and shape to be better as he got older. The signs are that he's made significant improvement. We are launching him into this and we are being realistic, but we hope he can give a good account of himself."
Nicholls told Betfair: "I was going to run him in the Gerry Feilden Hurdle at Newbury, but he wasn't quite ready, so we thought we'd go straight to Ascot and try and get him really fit. Hopefully he'll run a big race."
22 August 2014Byron well versed for Renaissance
Punters' Pall ready for Ebor
Great War out of Gimcrack
Reserves denied Ebor run
Applause sent to the Tower
McCoy records fastest century
Tapestry weaves Taghrooda downfall
Spencer to hang up riding boots
Mukhadram 'sore' after York
Slade 'unlikely' to run at Haydock
Tiggy takes Lowther by storm
Haggas strikes again at York
Signs good for big Estimate run
Power chases Nunthorpe double
Yar makes Ebor cut
21 August 2014Tapestry floors Taghrooda at York
Spencer announces shock retirement
Long bans for Cooper and Gagan
Abandon makes Hopeful return
Alga goes for Gimcrack glory
O'Brien keen on Champion double
Brooch dazzles in Ruby
Game Postponed dominates Voltigeur
Hill scratched from Leger prep
Dutch delivers in Acomb
Blaine works his magic
Byron bids for Curragh Renaissance
Smullen sweet on Anthem chance
Taghrooda ready to wow York
Power heads Nunthorpe field
20 August 2014York enthralled by wizard of Aus
Zarkandar in Ces reckoning
Gosden ponders Cambridgeshire plan
Gal set for easy spell
Estimate leads Lonsdale eight
Glance seeking Lowther glory
Tasaday ready for York test
No tactical concerns for Tag team
Toast ride relinquished by Spencer
Blue is the colour for McCreery
Hill in peak form for Voltigeur
Certain claims clear-cut success
Prince aiming for Acomb glory
Champagne target for Belardo
Telescope team eye Group One glory
Australia camp expect trip to suit
Anthem takes Lowther test
19 August 2014Duke aiming for York reign
Tag tops Oaks field
Matron on Thawaany agenda
Halford anticipates Tosc boost
No hurry for Panama plan
Millman plots weekend Celebration
Overbury role for Dunaden
O'Brien calls on two for Oaks
Newmarket entry for Abandon
O'Brien has some Australia concerns
Pale Mimosa at Ebor summit
Baitha remains in Gimcrack hunt
Anodin fired up for Foret
Moore given Hill role in Voltigeur