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Wylie on track to triumph

OWNER Graham Wylie is excited about the season ahead following a fine start to the campaign in Britain and Ireland.

Wylie significantly reduced his string to just 20 horses after principal trainer Howard Johnson was handed a four-year ban from the sport, with the Durham handler subsequently announcing his retirement.

Wylie divided a select team of horses between British champion trainer Paul Nicholls and Irish champion Willie Mullins and both found the target with their first runner for the millionaire owner.

Prospect Wells followed up an impressive Chepstow win with a fine second to Steps To Freedom in a Cheltenham Grade Two, and could turn out in the Sportingbet Novices' Hurdle at Newbury this weekend.

Hexham bumper winner Boston Bob cruised to a debut win over hurdles for Mullins at Navan.

"I was absolutely thrilled with Prospect Wells at Cheltenham. He had won easily at Chepstow, so we stepped him up in class and he very nearly beat the good horse of Jessica Harrington's," said Wylie.

"He's a horse who has had problems and a lot of credit must go to Howard Johnson as he very nearly died after being gelded.

"He is entered at Newbury on Saturday and we'll see if Paul decides he's ready to run again.

"Boston Bob was very impressive indeed and it's nice that my first runners for Paul and Willie both won.

"He had a good blow afterwards and should improve.

"I believe Willie is looking at running him in either the Grade One at Navan (Navan Novice Hurdle) or the Grade One at Fairyhouse (Royal Bond Novice Hurdle).

"We'll step him up in class and see how he gets on."

The Knoxs also made a winning debut for Nicholls at Exeter, while Wylie is looking forward to seeing a number of other horses return to action in the coming weeks.

"The Knoxs also won very well on his first run for Paul and I think he could run in a race at Cheltenham's December meeting," he continued.

"Quwetwo had a wind operation over the summer and is doing some good work, but I'm not sure where he'll run.

"Back In Focus has been doing some strong cantering with Willie and hopefully he'll run before too long."

Dual Grade One winner Tidal Bay also joined Nicholls and, although now enjoying the twilight of a successful career, he will be geared towards a second attempt at the Grand National.