Alan is confident that Edwardstone will be suited by step up in trip at Kempton

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January 11

It might not be BBQ weather this week-end, but Alan was pleased to see that precious little rain is forecast for Kempton and Warwick at least, having declared three horses for Saturday, all of whom would appreciate the ground drying up.

We can look forward to two of Barbury’s most high-profile horses being on parade, but undoubtedly the star of the show for us is the reappearance of Edwardstone in the Silviniaco Conti Chase at Kempton,

Obviously, it will be Edwardstone’s first attempt at two and a half miles over fences, but Alan is optimistic that the trip will prove well within his stamina range.

He said:”Edwardstone bumped into a serious horse in Jonbon when beaten this season at Cheltenham and Sandown, but he has been running as if he will be suited by going up in trip. He ran his best race over hurdles when third over this distance in a valuable handicap at Aintree three years ago, so I see no reason why he won’t stay.

“Edwardstone is a high-class horse and proving himself over the longer trip would open up more options. Obviously, the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham would come into the equation, but if all goes well at Kempton the plan en route to the Festival would be to take in the Ascot Chase on February 17.”

Alan has snapped up the in-form Jonathan Burke to ride Grand National possible Major Dundee as he looks for a fourth success in the Classic Chase at Warwick. He added:”This has been the Major’s target for some time, and his third over a shorter distance at this course in November was very encouraging.

“Major Dundee subsequently ran disappointingly at Chepstow, but he hated the heavy ground that day so I hope the going is no worse than soft. We know how much he enjoys marathon distances from his success in the Midlands Grand National at Uttoxeter last March, so fingers crossed he will be able to run at Warwick, where we plan to run him in a visor for the first time. He schooled in one last week and it seemed to sharpen him up.”

Alan’s other Saturday runner is also at Warwick, Klitschko being aimed at the two-mile handicap hurdle provided conditions are not too testing. “He was third at Lingfield under top weight in mid-November, his first time in a handicap, but he’s not run since as he’s been waiting for the ground to dry up,” explained Alan, who is hoping that Whispering Royal will be able to run in the juvenile hurdle at Huntingdon today. The better the ground, the better his chance, but he is the type whose future is in front of him.”