Seven horses remain in the line-up for Saturday’s Grade 1 Sodexo Clarence House Chase at Ascot, with Sire De Grugy the 5-4 favourite with William Hill.
Whilst the Gary Moore-trained williamhill.com Desert Orchid Chase winner is a solid market leader, last year’s winner Somersby at 3-1 and 7-2 Irish-raider Hidden Cyclone have been well-supported with William Hill in recent days.
The eight-year-old gave trainer Gary Moore a first Grade One triumph when lifting the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown in early December and then took full advantage of Sprinter Sacre being pulled up to capture the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton.
Somersby's sole success at the top level came in this contest in 2012, having been short-headed by Master Minded 12 months earlier. He was also third to Sprinter Sacre last winter when the race was run at Cheltenham after Ascot was lost to the weather.
The Mick Channon-trained 10-year-old will try to land an emotional victory following the recent death of Terry Biddlecombe, husband of Somersby's retired former handler Henrietta Knight.
There are two Irish-trained raiders in Henry de Bromhead's Days Hotel and Hidden Cyclone, from Shark Hanlon's stable. The Paul Nicholls-trained Kauto Stone, Evan Williams' Lancetto and Colin Tizzard's Oiseau De Nuit complete the seven runners.
There were three withdrawals at the 48-hour final declaration stage – De Bromhead's other entry Special Tiara, Fox Appeal and French Opera.
The meeting is not in doubt but conditions are expected to be testing. Clerk of the course Chris Stickels described the going as heavy, soft in places on Thursday, with more rain on the way.
Hidden Cyclone has been particularly popular with William Hill and his backers are hoping he can leave the opposition in a spin on Saturday,” said firm spokesman Jon Ivan-Duke.
Sodexo Clarence House Chase: 5-4 Sire De Grugy, 3-1 Somersby, 7-2 Hidden Cyclone, 12-1 Days Hotel, 14-1 Kauto Stone, 16-1 Oiseau De Nuit, 33-1 Lancetto, (EW ¼ Odds 1,2)