Prospect Wells shows spirit to win at Fontwell
Report: Fontwell, Sunday
Totepool National Spirit Hurdle (Grade 2) 4yo+, 2m4f
PROSPECT WELLS ended a seven-race run without a win as he saw off the challenge of stablemate Dark Lover and the Alan King-trained Meister Eckhart to win the National Spirit Hurdle at Fontwell.
The Paul Nicholls-trained winner has been a slightly frustrating customer over the last 14 months, mixing strong performances, such as when second to Zarkandar at Wincanton last November, with more underwhelming efforts, in particular when fourth of five in the 2012 Tolworth Hurdle.
Many of his poorer efforts have been blamed on soft ground and altough today's turf was far from fast it seemed to be dry enough.
Prospect Wells, Dark Lover and Meister Eckhart went well clear of their rivals turning for home before Prospect Wells took control between the penultimate and final hurdle. Meister Eckhart plugged on with great tenacity to take second, leaving Dark Lover, the 7-4 favourite, to settle for third.
The winner was cut by BetVictor to 14-1 (from 20) for the Coral Cup and to 12-1 (from 14) for the Country Hurdle, however Nicholls cast doubt over whether the festival was on the cards.
He said: "Prospect Wells is a decent horse when he's fresh and in the right race, but I thought it might be too soft for him. I´ll talk to Graham [Wylie, owner] tonight but he might even wait for Aintree, as the flat track and better ground would suit him really well."
Alan King said of the second: "He's going for the Coral Cup and I'm very excited about him over fences next season. He´s a proper horse."