London Prize (centre) comes to challenge Darebin
PICTURE:Mark Cranham (racingpost.com/photos)
By Jon Lees 3:00PM 11 MAR 2017
Report: Sandown, Saturday
Matchbook Imperial Cup Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) 2m, 4yo+
LONDON PRIZE, who fell when still to be asked a question in a valuable handicap at Musselburgh last month, showed what he can do when he stays on his feet as he captured the Matchbook Imperial Cup.
The six-year-old, who has been mixing Flat racing with jumps for trainer Ian Williams, was delivered from off the pace by Tom O’Brien to collar Darebin at the last flight and then forge past and hold the late effort of top weight Fixe Le Kap.
London Prize is a novice having only his fifth start over jumps but has never been out of the first three in completed starts and has now won five times in all for Williams since he was bought out of John Ferguson’s yard for £70,000 in April.
The 10-1 chance had a length in hand over Fixe Le Kap at the line with Darebin holding onto third place. The winner is not engaged at the Cheltenham Festival.
Williams missed the race after his car broke down travelling to Sandown.
Winning owner John Forsyth said: “Ian rang and said he had had a fuel spill on the M42 and he was stopped. He then said it was his banger car that did it and I don’t think he has seen the race!
“We had Kapstadt in the race but with the ground still soft I said why not put in London Prize in case it stayed soft. I think this horse can win a nice race on the Flat so I don’t know where he will run next.
“My wife Margaret and I haven’t had jumpers for 30 years as we lost the first two. including one we had at home for two years as a store horse. This is the 17th winner we have had in the last 18 months and I’m having the best time of my life.”