Trainer Alan King has revealed that he’s keeping an open mind when it comes to the exciting Edwardstone (4-6 Favourite), who got off the mark over fences in good style in the Highflyer Bloodstock Novices' Chase at Warwick today.
The seven year old had failed to complete on his first two attempts over the bigger obstacles, but he looked an accomplished chaser here, jumping his fences well and turning the screw in the closing stages to run out a seven-length winner.
The future looks bright for Edwardstone, who has some smart form under his belt as a hurdler, regularly hitting the frame in top graded handicaps in the spring, and King was quite open-minded in terms of future plans for the son of Kayf Tara.
He said: “I actually just wanted him to get round today, so I’m delighted with that. He’s bred to stay but I’m not sure I’m going to rush to go further at the minute after watching that, we’ll see. I just wanted to get today out of the way and I imagine the Henry VIII at Sandown Park would come too soon, but we’ll see.
“It doesn’t really matter where you run him, these two-mile races are always good and this was a cracking one today. We’ll get him home and have a think now, I haven’t really looked beyond today.”
Meanwhile, it’s proven to be a good start to the card for Dan Skelton, to moved to within one of 1,000 career winners with a double from the opening three races on the card with his brother Harry aboard both winners. Skelton’s afternoon began in fine style, with an impressive display from Hartur D'Oudairies (4-5 Favourite) on his British debut in the opening Olly Murphy Racing "National Hunt" Novices' Hurdle over two miles.
The four year old looked a smart prospect with the way he was able to settle matters on the run-in and Skelton was keen to stress that he would not be rushing things with the son of Kapgarde.
He said: “He’s a big beautiful horse and is only four, so he wants plenty of time. You can see he’s got all of the ingredients and went through the race beautifully – I’m proud of him as he didn’t pull and he had the chance to get keen if he wanted.
“We got him in the middle of last season after winning an AQPS bumper and the best thing we did was not run him. We were toying about whether to run him or not and the best thing about doubt is not to have doubt. We’ve taken our time with him this year and we’ll continue to take our time with him, I know he looks very good and is very good, he feels very raw and isn’t one to say let’s go with.
“I think we’ve just got to look after him, he’s only five this time next year and I think we’re only just starting to see it with him to be honest – there’s lots of potential there.
“I think we’ll go out under a penalty in December, have his flu vaccine over Christmas and then pick and choose in the spring – I’ll have to talk to the team and see where we end up. We’re going to go steady in the short term and work out the spring when we arrive there.”
The Skelton team look to have another nice prospect on their hands with West Balboa (2-1), who was a clear cut winner of the Amy Towers Memorial Mares' Novices' Hurdle.
The five year old built on her sole start in a point last year when pulling clear of the field for a 17-length success here and Skelton revealed after the race that he was keeping his options open with the daughter of Yeats.
He said: “She’s a really nice mare and I’ve always really liked her ever since she arrived. I’m not sure what I’ll do next, but I don’t want to aim for the Jane Seymour at Sandown Park because that’s a really tough track and I don’t want to go there.
“However, it came here one year and if they did that they’d definitely do it! She’s good and I’ve got high hopes for her, she won’t go further than two and a half this year I wouldn’t think but she’s a proper horse.”
The second race on the card was the Start Your RacingTV Free Trial Now Mares' Novices' Handicap Chase over two and a half miles, which was won in game fashion by the Venetia Williams-trained Fontaine Collonges (5-4 Favourite), who showed a good attitude to repel the challenge of the Henry Daly-trained Precious Eleanor on the run-in.
And speaking after the race, Williams commented: “She’ll still improve with further experience and jumps really well, but I’m very pleased. She had to put her head down and race and she did it nicely. The girls sometimes are a little bit more careful perhaps, which is no bad thing.”