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Nicholls can strike with fine Prospect.

Byline: EDDIE FREMANTLE

Today's bets Prospect Wells 2.55 Cheltenham 1pt win King Of Windsor 3.10 Lingfield 1pt win Uncle Timmy 4.15 Wolverhampton 1pt win PAUL NICHOLLS hardly needed any more high-class horses to add to his fine string but the backwash of Howard Johnson losing his licence is that the champion trainer has been sent several of Graham Wylie's top jumping prospects.

And they do not come much more exciting than Prospect Wells, a high-class Flat performer who made a smashing debut over hurdles a fortnight ago at Chepstow, where he overcame a difficult moment when impeded early in the home straight. Produced to sluice away from his rivals between the last two flights, he looked the real deal.

Cheltenham's Opus Energy Novices' Hurdle (2.55) should be much more of a test for the six-year-old but he looks as though he has the gears for the 2m1/2f trip. Before he joined Johnson, he was was performing in French Group races and was good enough to finish eighth in the Prix du Jockey Club after being hampered in a rough race. He followed that by finishing second in the Grand Prix de Paris.

Flat class and speed are no guarantee of success over hurdles but Prospect Wells stayed well and stamina is more than half the battle.

The fare at Lingfield is nowhere near as exalted but the winners have been coming at a smart rate for Ralph Beckett in recent weeks and he looks to have found an ideal opportunity for King Of Windsor on just his third all-weather outing.

Blinkers were fitted for the first time on the son of Intikhab at Nottingham last time and they perked him up to the extent that he made late headway to be ninth of 15, a far better effort than his last of 11 at Newmarket the time before.

Undoubtedly King Of Windsor is well handicapped on old form and Beckett has dropped him in class into the Christmas Parties At Lingfield Park Handicap (3.10), a race title that reminds us our bank balances need bolstering for the coming festivities, although you get a bigger fine in my household for mentioning Christmas before December than you do for using certain Anglo-Saxon phrases.

King Of Windsor was beaten at odds-on when first appearing on an artificial surface at Wolverhampton at the end of his two-year-old career but showed he is much better than that when following his Ayr maiden win in June last year with a couple of cracking efforts in smart handicap company.

First he was a close fourth to the progressive Sea Lord at the Newmarket July meeting off a mark of 83, running on well up the hill, and he followed that with an even better effort at Ascot when second to Don't Call Me with the smart Side Glance and Mass Rally behind him.

That run was off 85 and he showed enough to suggest he can win on the Polytrack when beaten four lengths at Kempton off a pound lower in September.

Now that he has dropped to 74, 6lb lower than Nottingham, and his stable is in such excellent form, he looks ready to strike. The excellent Jim Crowley should be able to get a good tow from L'Hirondelle from a good draw in stall five and King Of Windsor may find, like many before him, that the blinkers work better when applied for the second time.

Although Uncle Timmy does not enjoy the advantage of having been on the Polytrack, unlike several of his opponents in the Grand Slam Darts at Wolves Civic Nursery (4.15) at Wolverhampton, he looked in grand nick when winning last week at Nottingham, being head and shoulders above his opponents in the paddock to boot.

He is a son of first-season sire Multiplex and, while the sample size is tiny, there is hope that Uncle Timmy will go well on the surface from the results of his progeny on Polytrack, three of whom have won from six individual runners.

John Quinn's gelding has to deal with a 6lb penalty for the soft-ground success at Nottingham but that still leaves him 4lb well in compared with future handicaps.

With Blodwen Abbey and Profile Star expected to set a decent gallop, Joe Fanning should be able to settle Uncle Timmy just behind the leaders and come with the sort of run that also helped him beat subsequent winner Look Here's Lady at Catterick last month. The experience gained round that tight left-handed circuit should stand him in good stead at Wolverhampton.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Nov 11, 2011
Words:766
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