Prince goes on trial at Cheltenham
Amy Murphy, Britain's youngest trainer at 24, is looking forward to saddling her first runner at Cheltenham on Saturday, with Mercian Prince set for the £25,000 Timeform Novices' Handicap Chase over an extended two and a half miles.
Amy Murphy, trainer of Mercian Prince
Newmarket-based Murphy has made an excellent start to her training career, with six winners from 21 runners over jumps.
Two of those successes came courtesy of six-year-old Mercian Prince who looked a horse to follow on his latest outing when powering to a two-length victory in two and a half mile handicap chase at Sandown Park on January 7.
A winner over fences in France at Auteuil in June, 2016, he was runner-up on his British debut at Uttoxeter to Tiquer on November 20 before going one better nine days later in a handicap chase at Southwell.
Murphy said: "Mercian Prince is in great form. He did a piece of work on Friday morning under Jack Quinlan and we are very happy, so it is all systems go for next Saturday.
"We were really surprised when he got beat first time out at Uttoxeter but I think he just bumped into one because the pair pulled a long way clear of the third.
"He was really tough at Sandown as the ground would not have been ideal. He is more of a top of the ground horse – he is a lovely mover – and fortunately he got away with it.
"We are keen to run him next week with obviously a view to coming back in March. I will have to speak with the owner but I am sure there will be a couple of options come The Festival."
Festival Trials Day sees Cheltenham host a nine-race programme boosted by the addition of the Grade One Clarence House Chase.
Full details of the re-scheduled Clarence House Chase, which has been re-opened for entries up until Tuesday, January 24 at noon, will be announced on Monday.
Run over two miles, it has been staged twice before at Cheltenham, in 2013 when Sprinter Sacre was successful and in 2005 when it was a Grade Two handicap chase and Well Chief defied top-weight.
Another added bonus to the race programme is the £25,000 Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase which was rescheduled following its abandonment at The Open in November due to the lack of rain.
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