The fallout from last weekend

December 8th, 2022 | Marten's Current Racing Diary

Hi there,

There will be mixed feelings over the events that took place last weekend.

Starting at Sandown on Saturday, I thought the 7/1 initially on offer about Edwardstone was on the generous side for the Tingle Creek Chase. Apparently Alan King felt the horse would come on appreciably for the run, but there was a case for opposing Shishkin given that we had not seen him since his flop in the Queen Mother Champion Chase, leaving course specialist Greaneteen as the main threat.

As you may know I had Edwardstone in my Premier List last year but I seem to be alone in advocating a case for his potential over a longer trip. The argument against that is, of course, that he is likely to be rated the top 2m chaser in the UK, and has the valuable opportunities over that trip as his natural programme, but his sire Kayf Tara is a strong influence for stamina while his bottom line is brimful with staying blood.

That is the reason why he finishes his races so powerfully – the top sprinters do the same when they have stamina in their pedigrees.

However, when the idea to step him up to 3m for a future King George was put to the trainer by Nick Luck in his TV programme on Sunday he dismissed it as something he had not considered, but trainers often say that and I doubt someone of his intelligence and foresight has not thought that far ahead. After all, the owners expected him to be a staying horse when they bred him.

Edwardstone was always going to relish the climb to the line – just as he had in the Henry VIII here last year – and he is now a top price of 7/2 to beat Irish ace Energumene, who is 6/4, at Cheltenham in March.

Earlier in the afternoon Jonbon secured his position as 7/4 favourite for the Arkle with a very convincing defeat of 147-rated Boothill in the Henry VIII Chase. The next few in the betting are all Irish, so there will probably be something lurking, but at this stage Jonbon will appeal to some as an early Festival banker.

Over at Fairyhouse Facile Vega made his eagerly awaited hurdling debut. Starting at odds of 1/9, he made all and jumped well to win by 14 lengths. He is down to a top price of 5/4 for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, a race that was dominated by the Irish a few years back. His trainer Willie Mullins would be going for his seventh victory in the race.

On Sunday at Fairyhouse the big story was, of course, the defeat of Honeysuckle in the Hatton’s Grace. I had actually anticipated that this could happen in my morning preview as the mare seldom has an easy race and I felt that time may be catching up with her.

The winner Teahupoo, who I would never have fancied, had finished 33 lengths behind Honeysuckle in the Champion Hurdle, and last of six 25 lengths behind her the following month at Punchestown, so we have to assume that the mare did not run to her best. The winner may follow the route to the Stayers’ Hurdle.

I am sure owner Kenny Alexander and Henry De Bromhead will keep Honeysuckle in training, especially now that the pressure to try and protect an unbeaten record is off.

She is now out to 8/1 for the Champion Hurdle behind Constitution Hill, at 2/7, and the intriguing State Man, priced at odds ranging from 4/1 out to 7/1. Saturday’s winner Teahupoo is a top price of 25/1.

Earlier in the afternoon Marine Nationale and Mighty Potter won for my Dark Horses booklet. The former did well to win on ground that was softer than ideal for him, while Mighty Potter jumped very boldly apart from pecking at the fourth and third last.

Bye for now