Trainer David Pipe insists only time will tell if Katkeau has been let in lightly by the handicapper as he makes his British debut in the Betfair-sponsored "Fixed Brush" Handicap Hurdle at Haydock on Saturday.
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The master of Pond House has saddled Grands Crus and Dynaste to win this valuable prize for the last two years, so it is no surprise bookmakers have taken no chances and installed this latest French recruit as favourite.
Pipe's stable jockey Tom Scudamore has, however, passed over Katkeau in favour of stable companion Knight Pass, who makes his debut for the yard having won four times for Warren Greatrex.
Conor O'Farrell, who rode Dynaste 12 months ago, comes in for the ride on Katkeau.
Pipe said: "Both horses are having their first run for me and I think they both go their with good chances as they are at the right end of the weights.
"Katkeau has obviously come over from France and, on his French form, you would have to think he'll love the ground.
"I'm happy with him at home and I think he has an OK mark (124), but obviously we'll find out for sure on Saturday.
"Knight Pass has never run on ground like this before so that has to be a concern.
"Tom rode both horses at home and had a difficult choice to make, but decided to go with Knight Pass.
"He's a horse who has always promised a lot, without fully delivering."
Connections of Grand National runner-up Sunnyhillboy are looking forward to seeing him return to the racecourse.
Jonjo O'Neill's nine-year-old suffered injury when agonisingly beaten at Aintree but Frank Berry, racing manager for owner JP McManus, reports the gelding in good shape ahead of his comeback.
"He's back in good form and hopefully he'll run a nice race," said Berry.
"He recovered quite well from his problems after the National. It took a bit of time but he's been fine since.
"Touch-wood, he's moving great and we're looking forward to seeing him out on Saturday.
"He started off in this race last year and you'd love to think he'd go down that road again (to the Grand National).
"It's a long road, but Jonjo is happy with him."
Tim Easterby's Trustan Times won nicely on his seasonal reappearance at Wetherby, but an 8lb rise in the handicap means he is joint-top weight.
"I think the handicapper has been savage on him," said the North Yorkshire trainer.
"He's a really nice horse - he's in good form, the trip and track will suit him - but I think the handicapper has been very hard on him for winning last time."
Sivola De Sivola is a major contender for Tom George, having shown some smart form as a novice last season.
George said: "This has been his target for a little while.
"He had a few medical issues at the end of last season which, touch-wood, we have got under control now.
"He had a very good reappearance run on ground which was not to his liking as he likes it soft.
"That will have blown the cobwebs away and he should be spot-on for Saturday.
"We're putting cheekpieces on to help him concentrate a bit.
"He's always been very lazy at home in everything he does, so it's just to sharpen him up."
Saphir River is an interesting runner for Lucinda Russell. The six-year-old hinted at ability in three starts for Michael Scudamore last season and won a beginners' chase at Uttoxeter on his debut for new connections.
Russell said: "He's better on soft and heavy ground.
"He's an amazing horse, you hardly see him move on it. Any rain doesn't really worry us.
"He's got good form previously. He was second, just beaten in the French Champion Hurdle, on very heavy ground so if he can repeat that form he could go quite close.
"We had to do something with him before this race so we thought chasing was a good idea.
"He jumped well and we were quite pleased with him, so hopefully he will be OK."
American Spin won a handicap over this course and distance in May and trainer Luke Dace hopes a comeback run at Cheltenham will have left him in top shape for his latest assignment.
"I can't have the horse in any better form. The only thing is it's a big ask carrying that sort of weight," said Dace.
"I'm expecting a big run and we'll keep our fingers crossed.
"It's going to be testing but the only time he's run on that kind of ground before was at Fontwell and he won by 21 lengths pulling up."
Sharing top weight with Trustan Times is the Donald McCain-trained Son Of Flicka, who owes his connections nothing having won the Coral Cup at Cheltenham in March.
McCain told Betfair: "Son Of Flicka won the Coral Cup and it's time to get him started.
"He had a run at Aintree the other day and a heavy fall at Aintree last year so we'll crack on."