Arkle preview: Edwardstone flies flag for Brits at Cheltenham

Alan King feels Edwardstone can cap a fine season as he seeks a fifth successive win in the Sporting Life Arkle Trophy at Cheltenham.

The Barbury Castle handler has always rated the eight-year-old highly and he has justified that faith this season with the Grade One Henry VIII Novices’ Chase at Sandown among his four victories.

“He is now relaxing much better which is probably a combination of what those races and a fence have done. I think we are now seeing him fulfil the potential we always thought he had,” said King.

Follow every race at the Cheltenham Festival!

Never miss a moment’s action with our live blog from every day of the Cheltenham Festival on Tuesday, March 15 through to Gold Cup day on Friday

“I was a bit nervous going into Sandown as it was his third fairly quick run, but there was nothing else for him so we decided to roll the dice.

“He came out of the Warwick race in good order and Sandown was very pleasing. The time was very good compared to the Tingle Creek.

“We thought we might wait until the Kingmaker but he came out of it really well so we slotted in Kempton at Christmas, which I’m glad we did.

“He then had a proper break and we thought Warwick was perfect timing-wise between now and Cheltenham.”

Also See:

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Trainer Alan King says Edwardstone’s preparation for the Arkle at the Cheltenham Festival could not have gone any better.

King has won the Arkle twice with Voy Por Ustedes (2006) and My Way De Solzen (2007) and feels Edwardstone can emulate that duo.

“Voy Por Ustedes and My Way De Solzen were different types to Edwardstone,” he went on.

“Voy Por Ustedes on ability wasn’t the greatest I’ve ever had, but he was incredibly tough and he loved a battle. He won an Arkle and a Queen Mother through guts as opposed to sheer ability. My Way De Solzen was probably a more talented horse but a little bit more fragile mentally.

“We’ve had Edwardstone from the beginning and brought him through the bumper route and crept along quietly whereas the other two, while they hadn’t run much, had already run before coming to us.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Sky Sports Racing’s presenters share their best bets for the Cheltenham Festival, including two votes for the British hopeful in Tuesday’s Arkle Novices’ Chase.

“What you do want in the Arkle is a horse that gets the trip and we know he does exactly that.

“He is a big, fine horse and he is actually bred to be a three-miler to be honest with you.

“As soon as we started to do some proper work with him, we thought this has got some speed. He has since backed that up by his performances on the track.

“He has been around Sandown and Warwick is a great test and if you go well around there, you go well around most places.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Sky Sports Racing’s Mick Fitzgerald, a 14-time Cheltenham Festival winner, explores the Old Course and reveals the key battles facing the jockeys on days one and two of the four-day meeting.

“He has run well around Cheltenham in a County Hurdle and a Greatwood Hurdle. We probably couldn’t ride him at his best those days as we had to drop him right out to get him to settle, so he had a lot of ground to make up.

“Now you can ride him just behind the pace, so I’ve no reason to think why he wouldn’t handle going over fences at Cheltenham.”

War Lord was beaten 16 lengths by Edwardstone at Sandown, but Joe Tizzard expects him to put up a good show on the back of his victory at Lingfield in his only run since.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Top trainer Willie Mullins speaks exclusively to Sky Sports Racing on his leading contenders for the Cheltenham Festival this year.

“He’s a good, solid jumper and good traveller who gets two and a half miles. He could run a big race,” said the assistant to his father, Colin.

“We’d be doing well to reverse the form with Edwardstone, but you should never be afraid of one horse and he’s earned his place there. He’s definitely improved all season and he has a live each-way chance.”

Willie Mullins is responsible for three of the top five in the betting, Blue Lord, Saint Sam and Haut En Couleurs, but stable jockey Paul Townend has plumped for Irish Arkle winner Blue Lord.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.