It’s either Sandown or Huntingdon for Edwardstone after superb return at Cheltenham
Taking a leaf out of the well-worn motto of parents when their young children start sports participation at school, Alan’s philosophy en route to Cheltenham on Sunday was “winning is not everything”, his mind being very much on Edwardstone‘s bid to redeem himself in the Shloer Chase after last season’s’ Champion Chase debacle.
As with Trueshan before the Doncaster Cup in September, the priority for Alan, while hoping that Edwardstone would beat Jonbon, was seeing him recapture the fire and fight that saw our stable-star tear some classy two-milers to bits in last year’s Grade 2 Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown.
In the event, Edwardstone was beaten fair and square by Jonbon, but he jumped brilliantly, and, though unable to match the favourite’s gear-change from the second last, it was encouraging to see him go through the line seemingly with plenty left in the tank.
Alan said:”I thought it was a smashing run, and it was such a relief to see Edwardstone erase the memory of last March. Cheltenham is still a mystery, but we can now look forward and it is a case of deciding whether to have a rematch with Jonbon when we defend our Tingle Creek crown on December 9 or wait 24 hours so we can step him up to two and a half miles for the Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon.”
No horse has won consecutive Tingle Creek’s since Kauto Star in 2006, but Edwardstone both races and has the pedigree to stay further than two miles, so Alan will discuss the matter with Tom Cannon and owner-breeders, Robert Abrey and Ian Thurtle, before finalising a plan.
There was still plenty for Alan to celebrate over the week-end, not only at Cheltenham where Es Perfecto made a pleasing first appearance over fences when runner-up to Ginny’s Destiny but also at Wetherby, where our two runners, Favour and Fortune and Grandeur D’Ame both won.
Tom Cannon was impressed with both, particularly Favour And Fortune, who struck gold over fences at the first time of asking, having already won a bumper and two hurdle races.
He said:”Nothing wanted to go on, which is why Favour And Fortune was a bit keen and novicey at his fences, but he ground it out up the straight on testing ground and has the scope to make a nice two-mile chaser.”
Grandeur Dame got back on track after a break when cruising clear from four out in the handicap chase, and Tom feels that the horse is better when fresh.
JP McManus enjoyed a great week-end, and he’ll be hoping that Gitche Gumee can keep up the good work at Plumpton on Monday, while we are represented at three meetings on Tuesday, four-times Flat winner Mount Olympus making his jumping debut in the maiden hurdle at Hereford, while Alan will be glued to his television screen that evening to see how Implacable shapes on her first run at Wolverhampton.
Home-bred by Lesley Field and Aiden Murphy, Implacable is a Churchill half-sister to Primitivo, who gave Alan his first Royal Ascot winner when landing the King George V Handicap in 2016.