Alan King will run Edwardstone in a hood in the Sky Bet Supreme Trial Rossington Main Novices’ Hurdle at Haydock in an attempt to get him to relax better.
The six-year-old was second in three bumpers, but the switch to hurdles has worked out and he is unbeaten in two races.
The form could hardly have be better, either, with Fiddlerontheroof, who chased him home at Wincanton, subsequently winning the Tolworth Hurdle.
While the very heavy ground might not be ideal, King is keen to get him out again before Cheltenham in March.
“His form is rock solid, as you know, and he is as good a novice we have had for a long time,” said King.
“He is ready for a run, as he hasn’t run for some time. We are trying him in a hood on Saturday, just to try to get him to relax a little bit more in the early part of the race.
“I want to run him, but I am worried about the ground. But when is it going to dry up? Because he has won two, there are very few options for him as he would have a double penalty in another novice.
“He is rated 142, but he doesn’t qualify for any of the decent handicaps as you have to have three runs. I don’t think we would leave our season behind and I would like to just keep everything rolling. If it is not happening there Tom (Cannon) will look after him.
“When you see what he has done with the two (Colin) Tizzard horses (Harry Senior was second to him at Aintree) I would say he has the best form outside of graded races. He does need a run and I want to get him out.”
It is far from a penalty kick for Edwardstone and while only four go to post, just 2lb separates them on official ratings.
Thebannerkingrebel must give 5lb to the other three having won a Listed race over course and distance last time out.
“He’s in great form and we’re very much looking forward to running him,” said trainer Jamie Snowden.
“I don’t think the softer ground will be a big problem. He was second in the Grade Two bumper at Aintree on pretty soft ground and was leading under a double penalty on soft ground at Wetherby when he fell at the last – he doesn’t appear to be ground dependent.
“It looks a pretty competitive race and he has a 5lb penalty for winning the Listed race, which doesn’t make life any easier, but that’s just part of the game.
“We’ll keep our options open in terms of where we run next – a lot will depend on how he performs on Saturday.”
Nigel Twiston-Davies runs Stolen Silver who chased home the very promising Chantry House last time out.
Twiston-Davies said: “He’s in good form and ran very well at Cheltenham the other day.
“I don’t think the ground will bother him and I’m hoping he goes there with a good chance.”
Brian Ellison’s Snookered, who had won his previous four races before being beaten last time out, completes the field.
Ellison also saddles the promising Windsor Avenue in the Patrick Coyne Memorial Altcar Novices’ Chase.
Having won his first two outings over fences very impressively, he stepped up to three miles last time out for a Grade Two at Doncaster but was no match for Sam Spinner. It later transpired he returned sick.
“I think it was a case of both the trip and he wasn’t quite right at Doncaster,” said Ellison.
“He’s prone to not scoping quite right so we have to keep an eye on him, he did it last year as well so we have to keep on top of him.
“Because of his way of racing, he just like to bowl along, I think this sort of trip is more his thing. He won’t mind the ground.”
The lightly-raced Sam Brown is out again quickly after bolting up at Lingfield 11 days ago for Anthony Honeyball.
“He couldn’t have been more impressive at Lingfield and it must have been a difficult one for the handicapper as the other three finished close together and can’t all have run below par,” said Honeyball.
“It was really heavy groundm but he seems to have come out of it fine.
“He’ll probably stay three miles on good to soft/softm but at this trip he does handle the ground very well.”
Out even quicker is Sue Smith’s Joke Dancer after winning at Warwick last Saturday, while Dan Skelton’s Knight In Dubai, two from two this season, completes the field.
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