Mercian Prince and Kalashnikov are leading the way for Murphy

HIGH HOPES: Mercian Prince will be running for Amy Murphy at Aintree this weekend
HIGH HOPES: Mercian Prince will be running for Amy Murphy at Aintree this weekend

Amy Murphy has insisted Mercian Prince could not be in better shape ahead of his 188bet.co.uk Grand Sefton Handicap Chase outing on Saturday.

The six-year-old — a top-three finisher on five of his seven appearances over fences, winning twice — will make his second appearance of the campaign at Aintree.

And having had his first experience of the ‘Grand National style’ hurdles in Newmarket last weekend, the son of Midnight Legend is primed and ready.

“He got on very well over the jumps,” said Hamilton Road-based Murphy.

“He did everything that was asked of him and looked fabulous doing it. We are hopeful he is going to put in a decent display — everything is pointing to that.

“You never know — his mark is 135 and the last two winners of the race have had similar marks.

“As long as he comes back safe and sound, that is the main thing.”

Murphy — one of the country’s youngster trainers — also has one eye on March’s Cheltenham Festival with the impressive Kalashnikov.

The four-year-old continued his winning form at Doncaster on Saturday, making it three victories from as many appearances.

“We have been bringing him on slowly and are really pleased with him,” added Luca Cumani’s former assistant.

“We probably will not run him again until the new year and maybe once more before Cheltenham.”