Sporting Life Arkle Challenge Trophy Novices’ Chase (Grade 1)
EDWARDSTONE thoroughly vindicated his position as the long-time favourite for this two-mile novice championship with a typically polished and straightforward display to make it five wins on the spin over fences.
Some seven years after he last sent out a winner at this meeting, trainer Alan King was back in the big-time courtesy of a horse that has answered every question asked of him and more throughout the season.
The straightforward manner of his winning sequence possibly hadn’t captivated everyone in the lead up to this meeting but Edwardstone’s position as the star novice of his discipline is now beyond reproach.
It could easily have gone horribly wrong for the favourite when Brave Seasca fell in front of him at the fourth fence, but the 5/2 favourite displayed an agility and deftness to sidestep that rival without hardly breaking stride and retain a good position.
In a race where the pace up front was unrelenting, Riviere D’Etel and Magic Daze duelled for the lead and the latter was left in the outright lead from before the third last.
However, that mare could do no more turning for home and she was beaten off after the second last where she had a coming together with the winner before that one forged on.
Once Tom Cannon (right), riding his first winner at this meeting, allowed Edwardstone to move on the favourite kept on in really taking fashion. He pinged the final fence like an old hand and stayed on well to finish four and a quarter lengths clear of Gabynako who thoroughly vindicated Gavin Cromwell’s decision to supplement him for this race last week.
Blue Lord finished a further three and a half lengths back in third.
“He’s just a horse with a huge amount of ability but it hasn’t happened overnight this was two or three years and he’s become a lot more settled and relaxed,” reflected King who was winning his third Arkle and his first in 15 years.
“He got a cracking ride from Tom. I’m just relieved and thrilled for the horse and his wonderful connections. Tom is riding out of his skin at the minute.