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  • Writer's pictureSimon Long

How a 'shimmy' ensured British banker Edwardstone could deliver in the Arkle

The term British banker lost some of its appeal after last season’s battering from the Irish but, on a day when the home side’s leading prospects flourished, Edwardstone and Tom Cannon delivered a sublime performance to etch their names in Cheltenham Festival history.

Shishkin was the short-priced ace in the Sporting Life Arkle pack last season but the rise to stardom of Edwardstone, sent off a 5-2 favourite, has not quite been as straightforward. His novice chase campaign started last season, with an unseat at Doncaster, and in November he ended up on the floor again when brought down at Warwick.

The persistence to stay over fences was rewarded, with five consecutive wins helping him climb to the top of the two-mile novice chasing tree, but his pinnacle moment was a combination of brilliance and drama.

It was the fourth fence which caught him out at Doncaster and as Brave Seasca came down at the fourth obstacle it took a quick reaction from Cannon – in his own words, a “shimmy” – to steer him out of trouble as the rival flipped on his back. This time they avoided danger; Saint Sam and Sean O’Keeffe did not.

Now clear from trouble, Edwardstone, owned by Robert Abrey and Ian Thurtle, was back in his trademark strong-travelling and slick-jumping rhythm. He moved past the leader, and Ireland’s best chance, Riviere D'Etel, on the swing for home and with two brave leaps had done enough to seal it.

“I had flashbacks to Warwick at the start of the season but he learnt from it, he did a bit of a shimmy while that day he galloped into the horse,” reflected Cannon. “Maybe things happen for a reason.

"From there I had enough horse underneath and we came together a little bit [with Riviere D'Etel] and he helped me out at the last – I didn’t see a thing but, luckily, he did. I’m delighted, I just need to sit down and take everything in."

Cannon is riding at Huntingdon on Wednesday so will avoid “going mad” with celebrations, instead suggesting he would be toasting his first Cheltenham Festival success with a few cans of Pepsi Max.

“Every jockey dreams of a winner here and the fact it has happened hasn’t sunk in,” he added. “It’s all a bit of a blur, my main thing was reminding myself to weigh in so it was done and dusted.

“For me it feels great, a long time coming, but it doesn’t matter how well you are doing in this game, it always feels like you are treading water. I’ll enjoy the moment today and hopefully build on it and see what else we can do.”

King, celebrating his first winner at the meeting since Uxizandre’s Ryanair success in 2015, added: “There was plenty going on around him. We missed the carnage at the fourth. I was only half watching at the time, but I thought we could have easily been brought down there. Maybe luck was on our side but he has done it really well and Tom has given him a cracking ride.

'He was like Patrick Swayze' - McCoy Edwardstone averts disaster. 'He did a right straight away, he was like Patrick Swayze he danced that well.'

Asked if it was one of the all-time great side-steps by ITV host Ed Chamberlin, McCoy said: "Yeah, he was unbelievably fast this horse. When the horse fell in front of him how quick he was to side-step it. He did a right straight away, he was like Patrick Swayze he danced that well. Honest to God I've never seen anything like it.

''It's the horse. As much as you'd love to take the credit for it the horse has to see things you can't. That's why he's such a good jumper, because he watches everything. When the horse fell he had his eyes on it straight away and side-stepped it, it was brilliant to watch."

McCoy was full of praise for both horse and rider, with Tom Cannon partnering Edwardstone to his first ever festival success. McCoy said: "The whole way around he never put a foot wrong, even at the second-last when Riviere D'Etel went right into him.

"This horse obviously jumps very well but he also stays very well. It was a big day for Tom Cannon, he hadn't ridden a winner at the Cheltenham Festival. It's big pressure coming here [on a favourite], I always say it's a huge privilege but he handled the privilege pretty good."

McCoy's co-pundit Mick Fitzgerald added: "This is a moment for Tom Cannon now. You never tire of looking into that crowd and it's amazing, you'll see faces of people you haven't seen for years and you can be amazed you can pick them out with so many people there but you do. Enjoy it."


Tom, rides at Huntingdon today.

1:15 BALLAQUANE - COMMENTS

Showed promise on both hurdle starts but has a lot to find with Gentleman At Arms.

Trainer - Oliver Sherwood - Owners - Exors Of The Late Trevor Hemmings.

3:10 SWORD BEACH - COMMENTS

Useful on the Flat; some aptitude for hurdling and could do significantly better.

Trainer Alan King - Owners - Hp Racing Sword Beach & Ptnr.


Photo - Edwardstone - Arkle 2022 Cheltenham - Jockey - Tom Cannon

Image by - Edward Whitaker.






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