Fast and the furious
CAN BRITAIN STRIKE BACK IN THE CHAMPION CHASE AS EDWARDSTONE AND ENERGUMENE GO HEAD TO HEAD?
OLD adversaries Edwardstone and Energumene resume rivalries this afternoon to provide a classic Britain v Ireland contest in the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase.
Irish trainers held sway on a breathless opening day at Presbury Park, winning five of the seven races.
But trainer Alan King can strike back for the home team with Edwardstone, last year’s Arkle winner who boasts all the credentials to take this afternoon’s big race — a furious contest over the minimum chase distance of two miles.
EDWARDSTONE ended a Festival drought of seven years for trainer Alan King in last season’s Arkle Chase and the nine-year-old can strike again on jumping’s biggest stage today. The Arkle has often proved a profitable pointer for this event, and the selection warmed up for this afternoon’s assignment with an encouraging effort in the rearranged Clarence House Chase at the end of January. Reported to be in need of the run, Edwardstone was set a stiff task by rider Tom Cannon, who afforded the front-running Editeur Du Gite plenty of rope at the head of affairs and was forced to expend valuable petrol to close down the pacesetter late on. That effort took its toll in the dying strides, but it was a highly encouraging display, and he should strip sharper mentally and physically today. ENERGUMENE, a further six-and-a-half lengths adrift, was left trailing by a bad error at the final fence, but he is capable of brilliance on his day and that deficit looks sure to be narrowed granted a better round of fencing. Last year’s runner-up FUNAMBULE
SIVOLA could pick up some pieces late on. SELECTION: EDWARDSTONE 6-4 MAIN DANGER: ENERGUMENE 13-8 LIVE OUTSIDER: FUNAMBULE SIVOLA 40-1