Edwardstone has won both his starts over the obstacles in the manner of a top notch prospect, so looks a worthy red-hot favourite to take the step up into Grade 2 company in his stride and land the hat-trick in the 2m Rossington Main Novices’ Hurdle at Haydock on Saturday (14:05).
This Alan King trained six-year-old shaped with plenty of promise when runner-up in his three bumper starts.
He then put in a most taking display on debut over hurdles when landing a decent eight-runner novice contest at Wincanton.
Edwardstone raced keenly in the early stages, but made smooth headway to take up the running two from home where he stumbled slightly.
The son of Kay Tara quickly recovered, however, and when ridden after the last stayed on strongly to find plenty for pressure and beat Fiddleronthehoof by three-quarters of a length.
Leading form claims for Rossington Main Novices’ Hurdle
As the runner-up went on to score next time up and has since landed the Grade 1 Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown in impressive fashion, it gives the form a rock solid look.
Edwardstone went on to defy a 6lb penalty for that taking success at Aintree when posting a similar display to account for the well-regarded Harry Senior – an easy winner since – by a length.
Judged on the manner of those successes, Edwardstone is a hugely exciting sort who should be up to winning plenty more races. He appears to be improving with each outing.
Should all go to plan he could well line-up as a live contender for the Grade 1 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March.
If that is to prove the case, then Edwardstone has to be winning this and is fully expected to do so at 11/8 with Coral in the hands of Tom Cannon.
Windsor Avenue appeals in Altcar Novices’ Chase
In the 2m 4f Grade 2 Altcar Novices’ Chase (13:30), Windsor Avenue looks worth siding with to bounce back from a below par effort last time out and resume winning ways.
This Brian Ellison trained seven-year-old had some smart bumper form and over hurdles when winning four of his seven starts.
He then took to chasing this season like a duck to water in winning his first two starts in terrific style.
After making all to win unchallenged by 21 lengths at Sedgefield, the son of Winged Love could not have been more impressive when following-up at in a class 3 over 2m 4f at Carlisle.
Windsor Avenue again went straight to the front and put in some spectacular leaps, before drawing clear following the last to easily beat Ballymoy by 12 lengths.
The runner-up was rated 13lb higher going into the race, but having loomed up seemingly travelling powerfully at the penultimate fence was firmly put in his place.
Given that Windsor Avenue faced a stiff task on paper in giving Nigel Twiston-Davies’ charge 5lb, there was simply nothing not to like about the way in which he got the job done.
That taking success saw him sent off odds-on for the Grade 2 December Novices’ Chase over 3m at Doncaster last month, but Windsor Avenue made a series of mistakes before trailing in a distant 38-length second to Sam Spinner.
He tired badly from three out that day, so the drop back in trip to 2m 4f over which he is three from three is sure to suit.
Windsor Avenue looks well worth a crack at this level and he can be backed at 9/4 with Betway to notch a fifth career success from just nine starts.
Lots to like about Le Ligerien in opener
Trainer Philip Hobbs has his team in fine form and Le Ligerien looks to hold outstanding claims of providing him with another winner in the 2m handicap hurdle that gets proceedings underway (12:55).
This seven-year-old took his form to a new level three days ago at Newbury when pulverizing the opposition in a 10-runner class 4 contest.
After tracking the leaders travelling ominously well, Le Ligerien drew effortlessly clear from the sixth to register a facile 18-length success over Fibonacci.
The son of Turgeon barely had to break sweat on bottomless ground and made a total mockery of his handicap mark of 120.
He is sure to get a huge hike in the weights when reassessed, so it looks a wise decision by connections to turn him out quickly under a 7lb penalty before his revised rating kicks in.
If turning up in the same mood, Le Ligerien is going to take the world of beating in this class 4 under highly promising 3lb claimer Ben Jones who steered him to victory at Newbury.
With the ground holding no fears whatsoever, and Hobbs operating at a strike rate of just over 23 per cent in the last 14 days at the time of writing, he could go in again.
Odds of evens with Bethard look fully justified for Le Ligerien, so he is a strong fancy to get favourite backers off to a flying start.