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  • Writer's pictureSimon Long

'I hope and think he's an Arkle horse, so we'll work backwards from there'

After winning the Henry VIII Novice Chase at Sandown

Tom has two rides at Huntingdon

12:17 WAR CHIEF Flat winner with excuses for both his runs over hurdles; best watched for now. For trainer Alan King.

2:27 ZACONY REBEL Form of his Fontwell success has been boosted; likely to progress further; respected, for trainer Toby Lawes.

Further report from the success of EDWARDSTONE providing Tom Cannon

with his first Grade 1.

A patient ride and a fluent round of jumping were the keys as Edwardstone came up with a wide-margin success in the Close Brothers Henry VIII Novices' Chase under Tom Cannon to earn quotes ranging from 8-1 to 12-1 for the Arkle.

There was a moment when Third Time Lucki threatened to run away from his rivals after a spectacular leap at the open ditch in the back straight.

But the further the race went on the more Edwardstone warmed to his task, while the leader's race was run coming to the second-last, War Lord running on to catch him close home for second.

In recording a first Grade 1 win, Cannon was extremely cool on a horse whose economical and safe jumping belied his previous record of finishing one of three chase starts.

"The horse does all the talking for me really, he was brilliant," said Cannon. "He was a bit novicey at one or two, but he's only ever had one completed chase start, so he was going to be [novicey].

"[He put in a] Good jump two out and then I gave him a squeeze down to the last and he cleared away well."

Trainer Alan King has had a memorable 2021 on the Flat thanks to the exploits of Trueshan and Asymmetric and was welcoming back his first Grade 1 winner over jumps since Sceau Royal landed this prize in 2017.

King said: "He's got a great cruising speed. I'm thrilled with him. He was progressive over hurdles and we tried him over fences last year. He unseated at Doncaster and it was too late to keep going, but his form back over hurdles last season was as good as ever. He was always hopefully going to make a chaser.

"We got a nice confidence booster into him last time. I didn't really want to come here. If I could have found a two-miler with a penalty I probably would have gone somewhere else, but they weren't around."

King won back-to-back editions of the two-mile novice championship at Cheltenham in 2006 with Voy Por Ustedes and then My Way De Solzen in 2007, and hopes Edwardstone might be the horse to take him back to that hallowed spot.

"He's bred for a trip but doesn't need any further yet," said King. "He's had three fairly quick runs, so it's a nice problem to have now.

"I hope and think he's an Arkle horse, so we'll work backwards from there. The Kingmaker would be the ideal one, but he'll probably want a race in between."


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