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Edwardstone roars back to form in Game Spirit

The 11-10 favourite under Tom Cannon, Alan King’s gelding made all of the running in the four-runner Grade Two.

His significant lead looked to lessen slightly with half of the race completed, but the gap soon widened again and was further increased when Boothill fell in the home straight.

Amarillo Sky did not finish either, leaving Funambule Sivola to trail home as the only other finisher some 40 lengths behind.

King said: “It’s been the plan for some time (to make the running. I thought after Kempton when we disappointed him over two and a half (miles) and kept bringing him back, we would come here and pop out and try that.

“He was racing within himself and I think Tom was happy and able to get a breather in coming to cross-fence and away he went again. It has given me an awful lot of satisfaction.”

Edwardstone was notching his first victory since landing the 2022 Tingle Creek Chase and Coral responded to his sparkling success by cutting him to 8-1 from 14s for the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham.

King confirmed that race would be next, saying: “Jonbon and El Fabiolo are the main horses but I think we will be taking them on – I certainly won’t be going to the Ryanair.

“As long as he comes out of this all right, he will go for the Queen Mother and I have huge respect for both Jonbon and El Fabiolo. Jonbon has beaten us twice this season and Willie’s horse looked awfully good last week.

“It’s exciting and I think we’re in the mix now, hopefully. Those tactics worked today but might not be the thing to do at Cheltenham, but we will worry about that nearer the time.”

King credited a return to ways of the past for the upturn in Edwardstone’s fortunes.

The Barbury Castle handler explained that his string were now working three times up the hill at home, a return to the schedule the likes of Voy Por Ustedes and My Way De Solzen would adhere to prior to big-race assignments.

King added: “I think it’s the best mine have been all season. I was lying there on holiday a few weeks ago after a few of mine hadn’t been running terribly well and I was thinking ‘what the hell is wrong’.

“I know I haven’t got the firepower I used to have, but bad horses used to win and that wasn’t happening.

“We’ve only been doing two and we trained plenty of winners doing two up the hill, but not as many as we used to and a lot of horses were finishing second and I just felt that from the back of the last, they weren’t finishing the way they used to.

“We’ve drilled these horses the last few weeks. It’s how I used to do it. Voy Por and My Way all used to do three.

“I think the results are speaking for themselves. Let’s hope it continues.”

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