Kennedy hoping Outlander can make him feel at home on first visit to Haydock

Outlander has already played a significant role in the blossoming career of Jack Kennedy and the jockey is hoping the nine-year-old will make his first visit to Haydock a memorable one in Saturday's Betfair Chase.

With Sizing John missing the Grade 1 contest, Outlander will be Ireland's sole representative in a race yet to be won by a horse trained outside Britain. 

Outlander provided Kennedy with his first Grade 1 success when landing the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown last season and the 18-year-old was again on board when he won the Grade 1 Champion Chase at Down Royal this month.

"I've never ridden at Haydock and I'm looking forward to Saturday," said Kennedy. 

"Outlander was good at Down Royal and, while he will need to improve again on Saturday, he's in very good form. Hopefully testing ground won't bother him."

A five-time winner over fences, Outlander was fitted with cheekpieces for the first time when he won at Down Royal and will wear them again at Haydock.

His trainer Gordon Elliott said on Thursday: "Outlander is in good order. He's travelling over tonight and we're looking forward to Saturday.

"If he produces his Lexus form, or the form he showed at Down Royal last time, he'll have a good chance.

"However, he has disappointed a few times, so we'll just have to see which Outlander turns up."

Owned by Gigginstown House Stud, Outlander is third favourite in the six-runner field at a best-priced 6-1, the market headed by Bristol De Mai at 11-8, with Cue Card a top-price 9-4 with William Hill. 

Cue Card is looking for his fourth win in the race that launches the Jockey Club's £1 million triple crown bonus, which the now-11-year-old had in his sights when falling at Cheltenham in 2016.

"If he was eight he'd be odds-on favourite with only six in the field," said trainer Colin Tizzard. "He's showing us he's as good as he's ever been and I think he has a marvellous chance.

"He had another jump on Wednesday with Harry [Cobden] and they were in great form."

The ground at Haydock on Thursday was described as heavy on the chase course, and heavy, soft in places on the hurdles track. A total of 38mm of rain has fallen since Sunday, but while the forecast is for temperatures to fall, only the odd light shower is predicted.