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  • Writer's pictureSimon Long

Sandown is the favoured option for Edwardstone this week-end

By Geoff Lester - Alan King Website.

Besides being a fervent Arsenal supporter, Andrew Cooper has plenty of other qualities, not least being held in high esteem by racing professionals as one of the best clerks of the course in the game.

However, as far as the experienced Cooper is concerned the word “rain” is very much his nemesis. So, while the last 48 hours have been relatively kind to the Esher track with “next to nothing” forecast for racing there today, the weathermen have warned that the heavens might well open again from the early hours of tomorrow, possibly dumping another 10mm of rain.

That prediction had Andrew searching for his worry-beads as he looks ahead to Sandown’s biggest day of the jumping season, and, not surprisingly, he has called for a 7.30am inspection.

Alan knows only too well how wet Sandown can get in certain areas when there is rain aplenty about. He has just the two entries there on Saturday, but they are a couple of Barbury’s high-profile performers, Helnwein, in the opener and our stable-star Edwardstone, who would be defending his Grade 1 Tingle Creek Chase crown.

Helnwein, denied a chance to follow up his winning hurdling debut at Warwick when Jack Frost hit Haydock Park hard on Wednesday, causing the meeting to be abandoned, has been re-routed to Sandown for a four-runner Listed hurdle, which on paper looks much tougher.

But the Noel Fehily team, who own Helnwein, have always rated this horse highly, and he never looked like getting beaten at Warwick, so it will be interesting to see how he shapes against three other previous winners.

Plan B for Edwardstone would be stepping up in trip for the Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon on Sunday, and that course has already survived two inspections, with river levels remaining high throughout this week.

However, like Sandown, Huntingdon could get up to 10mm of rain overnight according to the forecast, so I doubt whether Alan will get too much sleep as he waits to find out if Edwardstone runs at Sandown or Huntingdon this week-end – or maybe neither.

The ground seems a little less testing at present at Sandown, but the advantage Huntingdon have is that they race 24 hours later, with precious little rain predicted for Sunday.

“Whatever will be, will be,” has always been Alan’s motto in these situations, but, assessing Edwardstone’s merits, Alan said:”He is in great form and has been working well, and we think he has tightened up since he ran such a good race against Jonbon on his reappearance at Cheltenham.

“Obviously, he’ll have to take on Jonbon again if he runs at Sandown, but we are very happy with our horse, and, hopefully, the meeting will be on as that is our first choice.”


Tom Cannon has three rides today at Sandown.

11:35 HELNWEIN (IRE)

Age, Colour, Sex 5 b g (9 May 2018) Trainer Alan King Owner Noel Fehily Racing Syndicates Helnwein Pedigree WALK IN THE PARK (IRE) 123 SYNTHE DAVIS (FR) 62 SAINT DES SAINTS (FR)

£70,000 4-y-o: well-made gelding: fourth foal: brother to bumper winner/fair 2m hurdle winner Uncle Phil: dam (c112/h125), 2¼m/2½m hurdle/chase winner, half-sister to useful hurdler/chaser (stayed 3m) Violin Davis and fair hurdler/useful chaser (stayed 25f) Stradivarius Davis, out of sister to Queen Mother Champion Chase winner Klairon Davis: third sole start in Irish points: useful form in bumpers: won at Ffos Las in 2022/23: off 8 months, 10/11, won 17-runner novice at Warwick on hurdling debut by 1¾ lengths from Toonagh Warrior, jumping fluently before quickening to lead last: open to improvement. TFR 133p


12:05 PRETENDING (IRE)

Age, Colour, Sex 4 gr f (21 Apr 2019) Trainer Lucy Wadham

X

TRAINER HISTORYSir Mark Prescott Bt until 12 Oct 2022Owner Mr James Summers Pedigree MAKE BELIEVE 127 GALA 77 GALILEO (IRE) 134

sturdy filly: fairly useful form on Flat, stays 1¾m: modest form over hurdles: best effort when 1½ lengths second of 11 to Under Control in fillies juvenile handicap at Cheltenham in 2022/23: off 7 months, 5/2, closing when fell heavily 2 out in mares handicap won by Ip Up at Fakenham last time: raced around 2m (uncertain to benefit from slog over this longer trip).

TFR 128


15:00 EDWARDSTONE

Age, Colour, Sex 9 b g (4 Jun 2014) Trainer Alan King Owner Robert Abrey & Ian Thurtle Pedigree KAYF TARA 130 NOTHINGTOLOOSE (IRE) LUSO 124

strong, lengthy gelding: winning hurdler: top-class chaser: won Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown (by 9 lengths from Greaneteen) in 2022/23: off 8 months, 10/3, not discredited when 9½ lengths second of 4 to Jonbon in Shloer Chase at Cheltenham on return, left behind by winner soon after home turn: raced mainly around 2m, though respectable effort only try at 2½m: acts on heavy going: tried in hood: waited with.

TFR 178




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