Horses To Follow » Mercian Prince
Mercian Prince put up a really game performance to win the two-and-a-half-mile handicap chase at Sandown on Saturday.
The Midnight Legend gelding travelled well from flagfall and along the inside for Jack Quinlan in mid-division, and he jumped well, better than Marcilhac directly in front of him, who was just a bit sticky at several of his fences after nodding on landing over the first. No better than seventh but still travelling well as they left the back straight and faced up to the Pond Fence, Amy Murphy’s horse came under pressure as All Together and Gores Island went for home around the home turn, and he was still fully three lengths down on the run to the final fence, but he stayed on really well up the run-in to go on and win by two lengths in a good time, the fastest comparative race on the card on the day.
It was another fine performance from Mercian Prince. He was an impressive winner at Southwell at the end of November on just his second run in Britain, for which the handicapper raised him 11lb, but he proved on Saturday that he was well up to his new mark. He was raised another 7lb for Saturday’s performance, but that was merited. He won well, he was strong at the finish.
The Midnight Legend gelding has just turned six and Saturday’s run was just his sixth run in a chase and just his third in Britain, so he has lots of scope for progression. And he races like he should get further than two and a half miles, so there could be significant progress forthcoming for a step up in trip. His new rating of 135 means that he could get into the Close Brothers’ Novices’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, but if he runs between now and then he could go through the 140 barrier for that race. He shapes like a horse who should go beyond his new mark, and he will be of interest wherever he goes next.
7th January 2017