Hazel Hill fuels Edwards' Festival dreams

Cheltenham Foxhunter bid is on agenda for Warwick winner

  • Monday 21 January
  • News
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There is nothing Alex Edwards would like more than to win the St James’s Place Foxhunter Chase – and Hazel Hill may make that dream come true after his victory at Warwick.

The prolific point-to-point scorer made it three from three under rules, routing his rivals by 11 lengths in the Overbury Stud Willoughby De Broke Open Hunters’ Chase to give Edwards and trainer Philip Rowley back-to-back successes in the race they won 12 months ago with Grandturgeon.

Edwards said of the 5-1 winner: “I’ve said it for quite a while that he is the best horse I’ve ever sat on – and he has proved that again today. It is unbelievable. This is a proper Foxhunter horse.

“I don’t normally get that emotional, but he is a horse I’ve had a lot to do with. I do love him. That is the first time I’ve had to squeeze him – and boy did he respond.

“I’ve been lucky enough to have had a few places in the Foxhunter, but I’ve never won it so it would be nice.”

The winning trainer also has Cheltenham on his mind.

“I’ve always thought he was pretty special,” said Rowley.

“I’ve always wanted to aim him at the Foxhunter. The owner didn’t want to do it last year – but hopefully I’ve got my wish.”

Plenty was expected of Listed winner Laskadine (30-100) on her British debut, and the JP McManus-owned four-year-old did not disappoint.

She provided the first leg of a double for trainer Nicky Henderson when taking the Racing TV Free For A Month Juvenile Hurdle by a length and a half.

Assistant trainer Toby Lawes said: “Her jumping was not as slick as it needed to be, but she settled well in behind and travelled well.

“She was purchased with Cheltenham in mind – we will see how we get on over the next six weeks, and see where we are.”

Yellow Dockets can look forward to an outing in Graded company on her next start after making it two wins from as many visits to the course – completing Henderson’s double with an eight-length victory in the racingtv.com/freetrial Mares’ “National Hunt” Novices’ Hurdle.

Lawes said of the 11-8 winner: “She loves going from the front and getting in a really good rhythm. She jumps brilliantly, and (jockey) Nico (de Boinville) said whenever she jumps she just fills herself up a bit.

“We would look to go to the mares’ Grade Two at Newbury if we can.”

After losing Executive Capilano to a fatal injury earlier in the card, trainer Dan Skelton had his spirits lifted when Ange Des Malberaux (7-1) backed up his Lincolnshire National win with a five-length success in the Trial Racing TV For Free Now Handicap Chase.

Skelton said: “He is going the right way – that is the nice thing. He loves these staying chases, with a bit of cut in the ground.

“How far up the ladder he goes, I don’t know. If he got in the Eider I would run him in that – otherwise we will pick and choose those staying chases.”

Refraining from having a bet on your own horse must be hard to resist for any owner, and Martin Tucker will now have to keep that ritual up after the Caroline Bailey-trained Captain Cargo (7-2) claimed the feature Start Your Racing TV Free Trial Now Handicap Hurdle by nine lengths.

Tucker said: “I’ve backed him each time he has got beat – and I didn’t today, and he goes and wins.

“I could not believe we won. I thought we were going to be the bridesmaid again.”

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