Fontwell hero to swerve Coral Cup

Lil Rockerfeller and Trevor Whelan win the Grade 2 National Spirit Hurdle at Fontwell. Picture: Clive Bennett/polopictures.co.uk
Lil Rockerfeller and Trevor Whelan win the Grade 2 National Spirit Hurdle at Fontwell. Picture: Clive Bennett/polopictures.co.uk
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Neil King has ruled out a bid for glory in the Cheltenham Festival’s Coral Cup with National Spirit Hurdle champion Lil Rockerfeller.

The World Hurdle had also been mooted as an option for the five-year-old son of Hard Spun in the wake of his Grade 2 victory at Fontwell last Sunday.

But King has hinted he may have a new plan, although the Wiltshire trainer is keeping his cards close to his chest.

He said: ‘He has eaten up and is sound as a pound.

‘I think we’ll have to draw a line through the Coral Cup.

‘With the weight he will get, I think it would be an impossible task.

‘I can’t say much more but there might be something new that is in the equation.’

Lil Rockerfeller justified his position as 7/4 favourite for the £80,000 contest as jockey Trevor Whelan expertly guided him to glory.

King added: ‘It is fair to say it was his best performance.

‘If he had been beaten I would have been extremely unhappy.

‘What pleased me was the manner in which he did it.

‘He is a very genuine and consistent horse that enjoys his racing.’

Ubak was a nine-length second for Fontwell favourite Gary Moore, who has not ruled out a tilt at the Coral Cup on March 16.

The West Sussex handler said: ‘He should run but if the ground comes up too quick I won’t risk him.

‘As the National Spirit is such a valuable race, it had been the plan to go back over hurdles and go for it.

‘He will go back chasing next season.’