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."
10 October 2015Massaat leads Sheikh Hamdan assault on Dewhurst at Newmarket
Sir Mark Prescott bids to end Cesarewitch drought
Aidan O'Brien: Every chance Gleneagles will run at Ascot
Breeders' Cup 'possibility' for King George winner Postponed
'Truly exceptional' Minding has Ryan Moore purring after Fillies' Mile
Cable Bay proves up to the Challenge for Frankie Dettori
Victory for Saeed bin Suroor's First in Oh So Sharp Stakes
Jack Hobbs delights John Gosden in Newmarket gallop
Gifted Master in 'sparkling form' for Autumn Stakes, says Hugo Palmer
Marco Botti sprint star sent Trophy-hunting at York
9 October 2015Tony Martin trio revved up for Cesarewitch challenge
Quiet Reflection storms to Newmarket success for Karl Burke
Mouse Morris seeks Munster National divinity with Rogue Angel
Dynaste makes French connection for David Pipe
Hugo Palmer cool on Covert Love Breeders' Cup bid
Tote Jackpot to undergo major facelift
Air Force Blue 'very popular' ahead of red-hot Dewhurst
Dhahmaan enters uncharted territory at York for Marco Botti
Classy Lumiere to stay with Mark Johnston
Mystifiable defies absence to reward Exeter backers
Andrew Balding lines up raid on Balmoral Handicap
Paul Townend hit with ten-day ban at Tramore
Jonjo O'Neill outlines chasing plan for More Of That
Marcus Tregoning's promising Alamode returns in Oh So Sharp Stakes
Promising Run on Mile high for Newmarket quest
Karl Burke pauses for Quiet Reflection in Cornwallis
Godolphin and Local Time playing for Pride at Newmarket
Shining Emerald gleaming for Newmarket Challenge
8 October 2015Lengthy whip ban for Pat Dobbs
Powerful Aidan O'Brien squad leaves for Melbourne
Godolphin ace Emotionless in demand for Dewhurst
Francois Doumen sets sail for Ascot with Sea Calisi
Sire De Grugy 'unlikely to run' at Chepstow, says Gary Moore
Clever Cookie team sweet on Long Distance Cup at Ascot
Champions Day looks divine for Gabriel's Lad
Godolphin set to supplement Racing History for Champion Stakes at Ascot
One-day bans for riders in Kempton 'wrong stalls' incident
Ryan Moore takes the plaudits with Nottingham victory
Bertimont injury blow for Dan Skelton
Winning start over fences for smart hurdler Violet Dancer
Grand National winner Pineau De Re set for final season
Gordon Elliott outlines early plans for stable star Don Cossack
Sam Twiston-Davies relishing top job with Paul Nicholls
Aidan O'Brien's Minding and Coolmore lead Fillies' Mile field at Newmarket
Aidan O'Brien decides against sending Order Of St George to Melbourne
7 October 2015Wesley Ward keen to secure Frankie Dettori for Breeders' Cup rides
Nick Attenborough and John Blake take up charity roles
Rain wanted for Cirrus Des Aigles ahead of Champions Day at Ascot
New series of races announced by BHA and Jockey Club Racecourses
Andre Fabre waiting on Esoterique Breeders' Cup decision
Nicky Richards considering Cheltenham target for Simply Ned
Ascot ground key to Decorated Knight's QEII run
Market Rasen option for Malcolm Jefferson's Cyrus Darius
Air Force Blue on track for Dewhurst - Aidan O'Brien
Frankie Dettori dreaming of America for Golden Horn
Mecca's Angel ruled out of Champions Sprint reckoning
Guineas heroine Legatissimo likely to race on in 2016
Eduard injury blow for Nicky Richards
Paddy Power option for David Pipe's Kings Palace
Andre Fabre unveils Lockinge option for Make Believe
Andre Fabre hoping for 2016 campaign with Arc third New Bay
Henry Candy eager to step up to a mile with Foret second Limato