Edwardstone puts on scintillating show to claim Tingle Creek triumph at Sandown

Alan King’s Arkle hero Edwardstone marked himself out as a Champion Chase contender after edging defending champion Greaneteen and Shishkin in the Betfair Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown.

The eight-year-old - who ended the Barbury Castle handler's seven-year Cheltenham Festival drought in March - had hitherto had a frustrating season, missing intended engagements in both the Shloer Chase at Cheltenham and in handicap company at Ascot the following weekend on account of unsuitably quick ground. 

However, he proved well worth the wait and having been smuggled into contention by big-race pilot Tom Cannon, showed a frightening turn of foot once tackling Greaneteen at the second-last and stormed clear up the Sandown hill to record an emphatic nine-length success at 5-1, with Shishkin another six lengths back in third.

It was Edwardstone's second win on Sandown's pre-Christmas card, following up last year's victory in the Henry VIII Novices' Chase with more Grade One glory, and King finally gets his hands on the trophy having finished second with Voy Por Ustedes in both 2006 and 2007 and then saddling Kumbeshwar to chase home Sprinter Sacre in 2012.

Paddy Power responded by going 11-4 from 8-1 for Edwardstone to record further Cheltenham Festival success in the Queen Mother Champion Chase in March.

King said: "I have to thank Nicky Henderson for letting me work him there (Seven Barrows) last week. But in reality mine usually need a run back, and if he'd finished third or fourth I would have been happy enough. But to win, I'm ecstatic.

"The ground was too firm at Cheltenham and Ascot was too quick. There's been a lot written about it, but without doubt this is the nicest ground and streets ahead of Ascot and even Newbury.

"He's blown me away a little bit. I have it in the back of my head to go for the Desert Orchid and I would like to run him in the Game Spirit at Newbury.

"He was a bit fresh and I lost a heartbeat when he pitched at that Railway fence, but he pinged the next two.

"The Tingle Creek has always been on of my favourite races and the horse it is named after helped me get interested in the sport. I've finished second in it three times before today, and it's one of the most emotional wins I've had in my career."

Reflecting further on the visit to Seven Barrows, King said: "I had sent him (Henderson) one case of wine I'm going to have to send him a second now! I said will Shishkin need the gallop and he said you won't see which way he went! Nicky gave me one of his best work riders to lead the gallop and Robin Smith, one of my assistants who rides Edwardstone every day, rode him in his bit of work. It was just what we needed to do.

"Whatever he did today he was going to come on for it. He is a big, heavy horse and that is why we couldn't risk him earlier in the season. I know there has been a lot said about it, but we do know what we are doing with these horses.

"I had in the back of my mind that we would go to Kempton Park for the Desert Orchid, but I will see. We are working back from the Queen Mother now. Whether we go one or two runs, I don't know. The Game Spirit will come into it, but it is a nice problem to have."

Cannon - whose win on Edwardstone in the Henry VIII was the first Grade One of his career - said: "He was the best on the day. If I was able to ride the race again I might have been able to play it a bit cooler, but there is only one Tingle Creek.

"He enjoys his racing and he is very honest. He was probably as surprised as I was to get to the front as easy as he did. He must have crossed the finishing line thinking he was a machine like the rest of us thought he was.

"He has blown them out of the water. I thought we might have got a lead a bit longer off them, but he tanked me through the race.

"He was very well placed last season in small-field novices and he had a lot of things in his favour. With the extra season over hurdles under his belt he was taking on novices when he probably wasn't a true novice in anyway shape or form. This season in open company he has gone and done it again.

"There is only one Cheltenham, but it is fantastic to come here and win this today."

He added: "I've been off the drink for ages so I've been really boring. I might have a full fat Coke instead of a Diet Coke!"

READ MORE: Jonbon puts on jumping exhibition to take Henry VIII victory at Sandown

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