The Dark Horse previews the second race at Leicester on Thursday and believes Medieval Chapel is well handicapped.
Medieval Chapel is the only horse in the field to have not run over fences but he looks to have a good chance of opening his account at the first attempt.
He started his career in the Irish pointing field with Ian Ferguson and got off the mark when dead-heating on the 5th attempt after some good efforts in defeat. A further win in a Winner Of Two followed before he joined Nicky Henderson.
Medieval Chapel made his first start for Henderson in a 2m6f maiden hurdle at Ascot. Having been keen for much of the first circuit, he had to be nudged along turning out of Swinley Bottom before coming under stronger pressure before the home bend. He plugged on under pressure but couldn’t get close to the front pair, eventually finishing 4th beaten 16½ lengths. The winner, Royal Boy, went on to win a Grade 1 next time and the runner up, Big Hands Harry, won a novice hurdle by 10 lengths next time and received a rating of 137.
He followed that up by finishing 3rd at Musselburgh over 3m on soft ground, when he was still in contention turning in before fading quite quickly after 3 out. Seeyouatmidnight won a Grade 2 next time and ended the season with a rating of 151 while the runner up, Racing Pulse, had a rating of 144 going into the race, so this was a fair effort against 2 very good horses.
Medieval Chapel’s 3rd run over hurdles was at the Punchestown Festival over 2m4f on good to yielding ground. Held up for much of the race, he was a bit outpaced after 3 out and was in 8th early in the straight before staying on to finish 5th beaten 13 lengths by the winner. This was a strong race and he performed well, with Cheltenian only finishing 6½ lengths ahead of him and he finished ¾ length ahead of Carraig Mor (received 6lb from both).
He is a chaser on looks and I expect him to improve on what he showed last season over hurdles now that he goes chasing. The prospect of overnight rain should be of no concern for his supporters as he finished 2nd to Unic De Bersy in a point on heavy ground. A slight concern is that he was keen at Ascot on his first run after a break last season and a repeat of that would have a negative effect on his chance.
Nico De Boinville provides a handy 3lb claim and I think Medieval Chapel can prove to be a fair bit better than his rating of 125 so he looks an appealing bet at 5-1. (Edit now 4/1 at time of publishing)