Thomas Darby gets in the Spirit at Fontwell
Olly Murphy reports Thomas Darby to be in Fontwell on Sunday at the top of the game Before the Stella Artois National Spirit Hurdle.
The seven-year-old thrilled his trainer when hammering the steadier of 11st 12lb in a competitive handicap hurdle at Ascot last month, even following two put attempts when tried over fences.
Murphy is sticking together with Thomas Darby for the time being, together using the Grade One Aintree Hurdle seen as the goal this year.
Thomas Darby is likely to skip Cheltenham, in which he had been next at the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle last season. His entry is in the Unibet Champion Hurdle.
“He is in good form. Aidan Coleman had a sit on him on Friday afternoon and schooled him,” explained Murphy.
“I’m really looking forward to running him. It is good prize-money and he’ll run a big race.”
The danger to Thomas Darby in the Grade Two warmth could come from Quel Destin.
Paul Nicholls’ five-year-old that was admirable took his tally to eight beating Telephone Me Lord at the Contenders Hurdle at Sandown three months past.
He tries two miles and 3 furlongs after evaporating on the series to the line after fifth to Summerville Boy in the marginally longer Relkeel Hurdle at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day.
William Henry, who had been third in the Relkeelthat he takes his chance.
Jane Williams measures up Monsieur Le Coq and down after the six-year-old in course found the company when seventh of nine behind Honeysuckle in the Irish Champion Hurdle.
Chesterfield, trained by Seamus Mullins, finishes the record of five runners.