Edwardstone came out of Newbury bouncing on Sunday morning

 In Latest News

February 16

Alan was justifiably still up in the clouds last Sunday morning, having enjoyed one of his best day’s racing for several years at Newbury 24 hours earlier.

However, this week-end is going to be a complete contrast, with just the one runner for Barbury, Alan introducing newcomer Hit For Sixty in the mares bumper at Ascot on Saturday.

Alan stressed, however, that while he thinks “she is a lovely mare”, Hit For Sixty is only just ready for this first race and whatever the daughter of Irish Derby winner Jack Hobbs does at Ascot, she will improve for the experience. Three of the first four foals of the dam, Over Sixty, have won, which gives us plenty of hope for the future.

From Perth to Newton Abbot, it seems that the ground has been either soft or heavy since the turn of the year, but, while Alan is reluctant to look at the weather forecast these days as you can guarantee it will be depressing, if ever he gets down in the dumps at least he can watch a re-run of Edwardstone’s brilliant Newbury success in the Grade 2 Game Spirit Chase.

Revealing an update on Edwardstone, Alan said:”He bounced out of his box as happy as Larry on Sunday morning and was clearly very pleased with what he achieved.

“Obviously, the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham next month will be a different ball game, but he was second-favourite for that race this time last year, and I don’t think he’s gone backwards.

“People seem to forget that we don’t have to make up that much ground on Jonbon from the Tingle Creek at Sandown, but I’m not under-estimating how good both he and El Fabiolo are.”

Emitom gave us all a boost for Edwardstone’s chance at Newbury when winning the three-mile handicap hurdle there earlier. Our local course seems to be his favourite, but his form is rock-solid and he could also be heading for the Festival, his target being the Pertemps Final.

Alan was in no way disappointed with Favour And Fortune‘s second at Exeter recently, pointing out that he failed by only half a length to give 10lb to Fun Fun Fun, whom Willie Mullins might well run in the Mares Novices Hurdle at Cheltenham.

All being well, Alan will send Favour And Fortune to the Festival for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, which kick-starts the best four days in jump racing, and he remains convinced that this highly-rated youngster will jump a lot better on March 12 should he encounter better ground than he did at Haldon.