Mercian Prince looks well-treated to win the 2m 3f novice hurdle at Catterick on Tuesday (14:25).
Trained by Amy Murphy, the eight-year-old is still a maiden over the smaller obstacles. However, he has won seven times over fences.
As Mercian Prince won competitive handicap chases off 139 and 143 last season, an official hurdles rating 138 may be taking him lightly.
He bolted up unchallenged at Kempton in January when eased down and value for more than the 17 lengths winning margin.
This Midnight Legend gelding rounded off the campaign with a three-length success in the Sussex Champion Chase at Plumpton.
He made all the running again in that handicap. So, if treating Mercian Prince on the pick of his chase form, he looks value at 13/8 with 888Sport to win.
Mercian Prince nicely treated for British hurdles bow
This is his British hurdles debut with connections keeping him to fences since coming over from France.
Murphy’s yard has also been among the winners of late, so that’s a plus. The stable comes into this Catterick novice hurdle on a 14 per cent strike rate in the last fortnight.
Mercian Prince had a peak chase mark of 149 and that too suggests this looks a good opportunity to win in this sphere.
He is preferred to dual hurdles winner Decor Irlandis, who runs under a double penalty. Both of that main market rival’s wins have come over further, so this trip may prove too sharp.
Decor Irlandis also couldn’t win a 3m Cartmel handicap off his current rating of 145. Amateur jockey Noel McParlan took 3lb off with his claim and does so again here, but faces a seasoned rival.
There are some unraced types in this contest who could be anything, but Mercian Prince appeals most given what his achievements over fences.
Bet of the Day: 13/8 with 888Sport, Mercian Prince wins the 2m 3f novice hurdle at Catterick.