Metier is set to face seven rivals when he puts his unbeaten record over obstacles on the line in Sandown’s Unibet Tolworth Novices’ Hurdle.
Formerly trained on the Flat in Ireland by Andrew Slattery, the Mastercraftsman gelding subsequently changed hands for 150,000 guineas to pursue a jumping career with Harry Fry.
He made an impressive start for his new connections at Newton Abbot in October – and having since followed up with a dominant front-running victory at Ascot, Metier is well fancied to complete his hat-trick in Saturday’s Grade One feature.
Metier’s rider Sean Bowen said: “He has done everything right in his two runs so far, in that he has jumped and travelled well.
“I think Sandown will suit him well. For a Flat horse he stays very well, and the softer the better it is for him. It looks like it will be fairly testing, so that will suit.
“He was a decent stayer on the Flat, but he is just a hardy, tough horse that enjoys his jumping.
“My only Grade One win is on If The Cap Fits, but hopefully he can give me another one on Saturday.”
The biggest threat, according to bookmakers, is the Jane Williams-trained filly Galice Macalo. After winning at Warwick and Stratford in October, she finished runner-up in a competitive Listed handicap hurdle over this course and distance four weeks ago.
Adrimel bids to make it three from three over hurdles for trainer Tom Lacey and four-time champion jockey Richard Johnson, following wins at this venue and Haydock this term.
Ben Pauling’s Shakem Up’Arry, who is owned by football manager Harry Redknapp, brings plenty of jumping experience to the table as a second-season novice.
Do Your Job (Michael Scudamore), Grandeur D’Ame (Oliver Sherwood), Smurphy Enki (Chris Gordon) and Tile Tapper (Chris Honour) are the other hopefuls.