Step up in trip could be on the cards for brave Edwardstone
Alan has twice used the Grade 1 Ascot Chase as a stepping-stone to Cheltenham, winning it with Voy Por Ustedes (2009) and Balder Succces (2015), and that might well be the next race for Edwardstone, who, though beaten fair and square by Jonbon for the third time this season at Sandown on Saturday, continues to reduce the deficit and was a brave runner-up in testing ground when attempting to retain his Tingle Creek Chase crown.
“I take my hat off to Jonbon, who is a bit of superstar, and, while we have not ruled out the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham, it might be wiser to avoid Jonbon and instead aim Edwardstone for the Ryanair Chase at the Festival.”
Reflecting on Saturday’s defeat, Alan added:”I don’t think his mistake at one of the Railway fences made much of a difference as he jumped well after that.
“Tom (Cannon) has no doubt that he is as good as ever, but we have bumped into a very good horse in Jonbon, I couldn’t have been happier with Edwardstone, and this would not have been his ideal ground.
“I am very proud of that performance, but we can rule out the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day and I’ll discuss with the others whether we stay at two miles or step him up in trip. We’ll look at the options we have to try him over further but the Ascot Chase in February would seem the logical race.”
Edwardstone was one of three seconds Alan had on Saturday, but Helnwein ran a stormer in the Sandown opener and was only worn down half-way up the hill. He looks a horse with a big future, while Ski Lodge, runner-up in an Irish point-to-point, ran well on his first race for Barbury when second in the Chepstow bumper.