Edwardstone raring to go at Cheltenham on Sunday
Alan gained plenty of encouragement from the runs of both his two-year-old runners at Kempton on Wednesday, Brioni, who was only beaten a neck in what looked a good mile novice, and Midnight Rumble, who belied odds of 200-1 by finishing a close fourth in the first leg.
However, the focus is very much on jumping this week-end, though Alan’s only two runners at Cheltenham’s three-day Paddy Power meeting come on the Sunday.
The Grade 2 Shloer Chase was the first target last season for Edwardstone, but the dry spell preceding the fixture meant that the ground was too quick for our stable-star to run.
However, first-day action at Prestbury Park today will be run on going described as “good to soft, soft in places,” and, with more rain forecast for Saturday underfoot conditions ought to be ideal for Edwardstone.
Fingers crossed Edwardstone can erase the memory of his disappointment in the Champion Chase at the Festival in March, and Alan has been very happy with his preparation.
He said:”Nothing came to light after that poor run, but there has been no signs of any lasting effect and he has been working well and looks terrific.
“Tom Cannon has schooled him for the last two Mondays and has been very happy, and this race should provide a good indication whether Edwardstone tries to defend his Tingle Creek crown at Sandown next month or we look to step him up in trip.”
We also run Es Perfecto in the two and a half mile Limited handicap chase. Alan added:”He pleased me in his two runs over hurdles earlier in the year at Uttoxeter, having been off 22 months, and he’s had an uninterrupted preparation since.
“I am hoping that we can get a full season with him this time. He schooled over fences last week, and, being an Irish point-to-point winner, I’m also looking forward to getting him started over fences,”
Alan is hoping that the ground at Wetherby tomorrow is a lot less testing than it was at the Charlie Hall meeting as he plans to run the highly-rated Favour And Fortune in the introductory hurdle at the Yorkshire course.
This dual bumper winner has always been a favourite of Alan’s, who said:”He is a lovely horse and we have put a line through his subsequent disappointment at Cheltenham as when he came back we discovered that he had pulled some muscles between his front legs.
“Favour And Fortune got over that and enjoyed a good summer, making a winning debut over hurdles at Hereford last month. He’ll learn from the one mistake he made two out, but, while I think he is very good, he is quite lightly-framed so he would not want to be running every two or three weeks.”
Grandeur d’Ame will also be making the trip north, his target being the 0-140 handicap chase. Alan added:”He won a couple last season but got hit pretty hard by the handicapper for winning 17 lengths at Stratford. However, he has been working better this autumn than he used to, so he might have improved a fair bit.”
And already settled in Yorkshire are Passing Reflection and Crystal Moon, who are in action at Doncaster today. Passing Reflection was a bit fresh at Ludlow on her seasonal debut, but she ran well and will have benefited from the race, while it will be good to have Crystal Moon back as he has been off since winning at Huntingdon last Boxing Day. He could not run in the spring as he had a little issue, but he is fine now and has been working well.”