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  • Writer's pictureSimon Long

'He looked pretty lethal today' - Alan King compares Edwardstone to former stars

Alan King's late decision to tackle the Wayward Lad Novices' Chase with Edwardstone was justified in glorious fashion as he rubber-stamped his position as Britain's leading two-mile novice chaser, which left the trainer adamant he is up there with the best jumpers he has trained.

King's career rose to stardom with the likes of Arkle winners My Way De Solzen and Voy Por Ustedes, who also landed a Queen Mother Champion Chase for good measure.

All roads now lead to emulating that pair with the seven-year-old, who backed up his Henry VIII win with a stylish ten-length success in the Grade 2 under Tom Cannon.

Only Sunday's Racing Post Novice Chase winner Ferny Hollow is shorter in the Arkle betting than Edwardstone, who was cut to 5-1 (from 7) by Betfair Sportsbook and Paddy Power but is a general 9-2 after his Wayward Lad waltz.

"He's as good as we've had for a long time. He'd certainly be up there with Voy Por Ustedes and he's a little bit like My Way De Solzen in that he's bred for further, but doing so well at two miles," King said.

"It's like going back to the old days when we had them both, but we haven't had one as good as him for a bit. It's wonderful for the owners [Robert Abrey and Ian Thurtle] as they also bred him."

"He looked pretty lethal today but it was hard work, it put an emphasis on stamina. I thought it was a brilliant idea up until two days ago and then I was thinking, 'oh why didn't I give him a break!'"

While Kempton was a last-minute pit-stop, King will chart a familiar route next, with the Kingmaker Novices' Chase at Warwick in February pencilled in next for Edwardstone before he attempts to become the sixth horse to complete the Wayward Lad-Arkle double in March.

"It'll be the Arkle or nowhere," King added. "There's no point in going up in trip. It'll be a break, the Kingmaker, and if all goes well, then it'll be the Arkle. It's exciting times."

Also excited was Cannon, who, despite a hairy jump at the first fence, anchored Edwardstone at the rear of the field before the 8-15 favourite galloped clear from Do Your Job.

"He's the best I've sat on, no doubt," he said. "The ground wasn't ideal and he's slightly better going left-handed, but he's won a Grade 1 and this going the other way, so he's not too bad!

"Once he got the first one out the way it was a case of just holding him and waiting. We had a race on for a long time, but he was always going to see the trip out nicely."


Photo image Edwardstone jumping the last fence on to victory at Kempton.

Photo taken by Edward Whitaker.



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