Edwardstone ready for his Champion Chase dress-rehearsal
“Bring it on,” was the cry from virtually everyone at Barbury when it became apparent that stable-star Edwardstone could possibly be the sole opponent of reigning Queen Mother Champion Chase hero Energumene in what promises to be a fascinating head-to-head in the Grade 1 Clarence House Chase at Ascot on Saturday.
None of us will ever forget last year’s £175,000 epic duel between Energumene and Shishkin in this very same race, the only time that Willie Mullins’s superstar has been beaten in his last 12 races.
Energumene is rated 6lb superior to Edwardstone – Joe Tizzard’s Amarillo Sky, who has 25lb to find with the Irish-trained odds-on favourite, is the only other entry – but Alan is looking forward to the big shoot-out.
He said:”This is what we all get up in the morning for, and it was some similar titanic Grade 1 battles from the great horses in the past which got me hooked on racing as a kid.
“The fact that Energumene will start favourite takes a bit of the pressure off us. He has shown that he is a very good horse, but I can only worry about Edwardstone and try and get him to Ascot at the top of his form. Now we just have to see what happens – it could be a real spectacle.”
Alan’s plans for Edwardstone have been somewhat thwarted by the unseasonal weather this autumn, but he could not have been more impressive when bolting up in the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown in December.
Granted, Edwardstone then blotted his copybook in the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton over Christmas, taking an early exit at the fifth fence, but with the week-end rain being just what the Barbury team wanted, the scene is set for another Clarence House crackerjack in what looks the perfect dress-rehearsal for the Champion Chase at Cheltenham in March.