Horses To Follow » Edgbriar


Edgbriar gave Dominic Elsworth a dream return to the saddle on his first ride back after a serious injury at Cheltenham in October and he is now on track for one of the handicaps at the Festival after running much better than his previous two starts in the Class 2 0-145 two mile handicap chase at Sandown on Saturday.

He jumped nimbly just about upsides the leader Blacktoft early on. Still bang there going down the back straight, he lost a bit of ground over the Railway fences and was caught for toe when the winner Anquetta forged on turning out of the back. Having briefly dropped to seventh he made ground again on the outside coming to the Pond Fence and up the straight, just prevailing in the battle for third with Moon Over Miami.

This was a strong race; the favourite Call Me A Legend had won impressively at Warwick the time before while Noble Alan was in the process of running a big race in the Vote AP Gold Cup at Cheltenham in December when falling three out but they were both well beaten off here. The winner is a lightly-raced Henderson inmate who was clearly still ahead of the assessor having been switched to handicaps.

Edgbriar did really well here over a trip that was short of his best, and he will now be very interesting when stepped back up to two and a half miles. He has won on a variety of surfaces, he has gone very well at Cheltenham twice before, and he did win in March last year. He struggled in his two races since winning on his return at Prestbury Park, but he had been raised 8lb to 145 for that victory but was back down to 141 here. He goes well fresh so it makes sense to wait for the Festival with him now and, while he is entered in the Ryanair, surely that is just fanciful and he will much more likely be contesting the Byrne Group Plate, in which he must have a solid chance. He is not fully exposed over fences, and the handicapper has left him on his mark of 141, which is fair.

5th February 2011