We are shaken but not stirred over Edwardstone’s Christmas hiccup

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December 28

Sadly, Santa’s sack addressed to Barbury somehow mislaid the joyful present sent by Lady Luck for Edwardstone, but at least we were able to celebrate a Christmas victory for Crystal Moon, who confirmed the promise shown on his chasing debut at Ludlow when scoring a hard-fought success at Huntingdon.

Edwardstone had started 2-5 for the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton and duly beat his rivals to the winning post by some way. However, unfortunately Edwardstone had parted company with Tom Cannon at the fifth fence, so sailed over the remaining obstacles riderless.

“It was just one of those things – if you go swimming you sometimes get wet,” was Tom’s candid post-race assessment, and Alan took a similar view.

He said:”Normally, Tom and Edwardstone sort things out between them, but this time at that open ditch they didn’t. The horse was fine afterwards and winged around the rest of the course.

“I was obviously gutted, but there will be another day and nobody has died. It happens – they just did not get it right for once.”

Provided everything goes well between now and February 11, Edwardstone will doubtless still have his Cheltenham prep in the Game Spirit Chase at Newbury, where hopefully normal service will be resumed and we will be back on track for the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the March Festival.

There will also surely be another day for Spartan Army, who was re-routed from the introductory hurdle at Kempton to the Grade 2 Finale Junior Hurdle at Chepstow.

Lightly raced with Joseph O’Brien, and having only his second race over jumps for us, Spartan Army, who had won well at Wetherby on his debut, was again very slick at his obstacles.

But the tiring ground up the straight at Chepstow eventually found him out and he finished fifth, though he was not given a punishing race and remains a youngster with plenty more to give.