THE seven-year-old grey, trained by Paul Nicholls, will be having just his sixth race over fences in the prestigious event and only established handicappers Poquelin and Wishfull Thinking are above him in the weights.
Al Ferof finds himself so high up the list having won the Grade One Henry VIII Novices' Chase and, perhaps more crucially, finished third in the Victor Chandler Chase at Ascot against his elders.
"We decided to run him in the Paddy Power after a racecourse gallop at Wincanton last Sunday," said Hales.
"He goes very well fresh early in the season and he has been flying in training and Paul (Nicholls) decided he was well enough to go for the race.
"We are going to have to give weight away but weight carrying is something that he is used to and I don't think that it will be a problem.
"Obviously Grands Crus is the Paddy Power favourite and the horse to beat."
Al Ferof is a 7/1 chance with the sponsors for the big race.