Ascot return may be next for Wonderwall

Champion Bumper hopeful Wonderwall has two possible stops on his road to the Cheltenham Festival in March.

A National Hunt Flat winner on his racecourse debut at Ascot on Saturday, the four-year-old prevailed by half a length ahead of the Nicky Henderson-trained Hamilton’s Fantasy, who is owned by the Queen.

Purchased for 105,000 euros from last year’s Goffs Land Rover Sale, Wonderwall is owned by Rebel Racing, a partnership formed by owner Phil Cunningham and trainer Richard Spencer.

Cunningham said: “He’s a lovely horse, he’s very exciting for us.

“He’s very good and he’s come out of it well – it’s all very exciting for us for the rest of the season.”

Cunningham has two Listed engagements in mind as the horse is prepared for Prestbury Park in March – a return to Ascot next month and the Winter Bumper at Newbury in February.

“He’s got a couple of options, possibly back at Ascot for the Listed race and then obviously there’s the race in February at Newbury,” he added.

“His main objective will of course be the Festival Bumper – that’s the dream. If he’s fit and well he’ll possibly line up at one, or maybe both, of those options on the way.”

Beyond this season’s Festival, Cunningham is hoping Wonderwall can develop into a useful hurdler and eventually come into his own as a staying chaser.

“We think he wants further, and he’s hopefully a three-mile chaser in the making,” he said.

“Whatever he does now is just a really lovely bonus. Obviously I spend more time on the Flat – and I think for a jumps horse, he’s really very athletic-looking.”

A son of Yeats, Wonderwall is as short as 20-1 for Cheltenham with William Hill, BetVictor and Unibet.

Spencer plots Tyson Fury’s 2021 campaign

Richard Spencer is confident Tyson Fury can develop into a genuine Group-race performer next year, after deciding to draw stumps for this season.

The Newmarket trainer believes the best is yet to come from the son of Iffraaj – who is named after the reigning WBC heavyweight boxing champion – and has earmarked the Group Three John Porter Stakes at Newbury in April as a potential starting point.

After finishing ninth in the St Leger at Doncaster on his penultimate start, Tyson Fury added to his debut success at Town Moor with victory in a novice contest at Ascot earlier this month.

Spencer said: “He came out of his race at Ascot really well, but we have decided to give him a break and put him away for the rest of the season.

“We will start him off in Group races, and hopefully he can progress again. We will target something like the John Porter at Newbury with him, although that is a long way off.

“I’m looking forward to seeing him mature and develop over the winter, because he is a big horse. I think he will strengthen up and be a nice four-year-old.”

Reflecting on his latest success, Spencer feels the victory was made all the more impressive because it came on ground that would have been far from ideal.

He added: “He had the penalty to carry at Ascot, and the ground would have been on the soft side for him.

“He is still raw and learning, but it was great to finish on a winning note like that.

“It was good to see him get his head back in front after the St Leger – it would have given him a bit more street-craft and confidence.”