Unibet Elite Hurdle
|Grade 2, Wincanton 15:00
1m 7f 65y, Class 1
|Saturday 11th November 2017|
1 London Prize 4/1
2 Lough Derg Spirit 5/2F
3 Flying Tiger 4/1
7 ran Distances: 3l, 1¾l, 6l
Time: 3m 49.20s (slow by 18.20s)
The Ian Williams-trained London Prize won the Imperial Cup at Sandown in the spring, since when he has claimed Flat races at Goodwood and Newcastle before finding only handicap blot Withhold too strong in the Betfred Cesarewitch at Newmarket last month.
He was a 4-1 shot reverting to the jumping game and after travelling well in the hands of Tom O'Brien, took over the running from 5-2 favourite Lough Derg Spirit rounding the home turn.
Flying Tiger moved ominously into his slipstream, but wilted when asked for maximum effort and London Prize galloped all the way to the line to take the Grade Two prize by three lengths.
Lough Derg Spirit rallied to beat Flying Tiger to the runner-up spot.
Speaking after completing a notable across-the-card double with Saunter in the November Handicap at Doncaster, Williams said: "I thought London Prize was tremendous. I thought he was up against it, particularly over the two miles at Wincanton, but Tom has given him a great ride.
"Potentially he was well handicapped on his Flat form, but I wondered if he would have the toe round there."
The trainer raised the possibility of London Prize making a swift return at Cheltenham next Sunday.
He added: "He'll potentially run in the Greatwood Hurdle. We originally went to Wincanton because the owners weren't available on Greatwood day, but it depends on what the handicapper does and if he's bucking and squealing."
Jeremy Scott's stable stalwart Melodic Rendezvous won the Elite Hurdle in 2013, but trailed home last of seven runners this time and was immediately retired by his trainer.
Unibet Elite Hurdle (Limited Handicap)
£60,000 added, 4yo plus, 1m 7f 65y, Class 1
|Pos||D||Horse SP||Jockey Weight||Trainer||Age|
|1st||London Prize 4/1||T J O'Brien
|2nd||3||Lough Derg Spirit (IRE) 5/2f||Nico de Boinville
|N J Henderson||5|
|3rd||1¾||Flying Tiger (IRE) 4/1||N D Fehily
|4th||6||Charbel (IRE) 5/1||David Bass
|K C Bailey||6|
|5th||1||Coeur de Lion 12/1||Kevin Dowling (10)
|6th||7||Zubayr (IRE) 9/2||Sam Twiston-Davies
|P F Nicholls||5|
|7th||65||Melodic Rendezvous 20/1||Matt Griffiths