Prospect Wells: set for a rapid return following Saturday's secondPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Nicholls aims three at Racing Post Hurdle
PAUL NICHOLLS is to confirm three possible contenders at the five-day stage for the first running of the Racing Post Hurdle at Cheltenham on Sunday.
Saturday's Elite Hurdle runner-up Prospect Wells will join Ted Spread, a gallops companion of Al Ferof on Sunday, and Dark Lover, still unbeaten over hurdles after a winning return at Cheltenham last month.
The champion trainer said of the Graham and Andrea Wylie-owned seven-year-old: “The way Saturday's race was run at a steady pace didn't suit him but he still ran a nice race and if he had jumped the last better it would have been close with Zarkandar.
“He wants a fast-run competitive race and the Racing Post Hurdle might suit him. But I will see how he is at the end of the week before deciding.”
Prospect Wells, a close-up fifth in the Supreme Novices' last season, had higher-rated rivals strung out behind him and bookmakers can not make up their minds about his chances with Bet365 just 8-1 co-third favourite but Stan James double that price for the Grade 3 handicap over an extended two miles, which was formerly known as the Greatwood Hurdle.
Former smart Flat horse Ted Spread, who has cut little ice in big handicap hurdles since his Taunton win in January, booked his place after working with Al Ferof on Sunday and is a general 25-1 chance.
Nicholls added: “Dark Lover won off 120 and is now rated 131 so it will be a different ball game for him but he could be improving.”
Dark Lover has eased to 12-1 with Stan James together with William Hill and Paddy Power as punters focused on the market leaders, both owned by JP McManus, over the weekend.
Darlan, set to share top weight with the expected defection of Raya Star at Monday's five-day stage, was cut to 3-1 from 4-1 favourite by Coral.
It's a Gimme, second to Raya Star at Ascot ten days ago, is in to 7-1 from 8-1 with Stan James and Hills.
Get the champion trainer's candid thoughts on his talented string in the incredible eight-page Paul Nicholls stable tour supplement, only in Monday's Racing Post