Prospect Wells: narrow favourite for the 32Red Hurdle on SaturdayPICTURE: Mark Cranham (racingpost.com/photos)
Walsh fears Squadron in Sandown feature
RUBY WALSH, who rides smart novice Prospect Wells in the Grade 1 32Red-sponsored Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown on Saturday, thinks the Philip Hobbs-trained Colour Squadron could be the one to give him most to think about.
Prospect Wells, 14-1 with the sponsors for the William Hill Supreme Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, stepped out of novice company to finish fourth in the Ladbroke on his last start. Despite that good run, Walsh is not predicting an easy victory for Andrea and Graham Wylie's seven-year-old.
"Prospect Wells arrives here on the back of finishing fourth behind Raya Star in the very valuable Ladbroke Hurdle at Ascot but this is a tricky little contest, even if there are only five runners," Walsh told the Irish Examiner.
Assessing the opposition, Walsh added: "Captain Conan, who won by 15 lengths at Auteuil in June, has his first run for Nicky Henderson. All I know about him is what I've read in the papers.
"He does seem to have quite a reputation, but I've seen these balloons pricked before. Indeed, sometimes horses who come from France with ordinary reputations turn out to be superstars!
"The horse I am most afraid of is Colour Squadron. He's tough and you'd have to be impressed with the way he battled when winning at Newbury."
Prospect Wells is 13-8 favourite with Paddy Power, who cut Colour Squadron to 2-1 (from 9-4) on Saturday morning.
Of the chances of French import Captain Conan, who makes his British debut in the race, trainer Nicky Henderson told The Morning Line: "He's a lovely horse who has done his work well. He will stay, goes on soft but whether he's got the pace for these sort of boys we will find out."
Walsh has a further three rides at Sandown, including Attaglance in the concluding handicap hurdle, which will be his first ride for Malcolm Jefferson.
The jockey said: "Tome he's interesting because I have never previously ridden for Malcolm. Indeed, I have never spoken to the man, although I do know him to see.
"I once drove past Malcolm's base, near Thirsk, after attending Jamie Spencer's wedding. All I'll say is that it is a long way from there to Sandown, so I'm thinking he must be giving this lad a fair chance."
Attaglance is a best-priced 11-1 with Paddy Power.