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Cannon firing on all cylinders as Cheltenham looms large

Tom Cannon hopes he has not peaked too soon. Ahead of some big rides at the Cheltenham Festival Cannon is already looking ahead after a big Saturday treble at Kempton.

The 30-year-old brought up the 50 mark for the season with a double for Chris Gordon and another for Toby Lawes at the Sunbury track.

Yet he is already setting his sights on the four-day March Festival in just over a fortnight’s time, with Edwardstone the apple of his eye.

The Alan King-trained Edwardstone is already a Grade One winner this season, having landed the Henry VIII Novices’ Chase at Sandown, a victory which gave the rider his first top-class success.

The eight-year-old subsequently backed that up with Grade Two success in both the Wayward Lad at Kempton and the Kingmaker at Warwick two weeks ago.

Currently as short as 7-4 favourite the Sporting Life Arkle Chase Challenge Trophy on the first day of the Festival, Cannon feels that Cheltenham will hold no fears for him, having finished a close-up fifth in the County Hurdle last year.

“Edwardstone is my best chance,” insisted Cannon. “He is very straightforward as he is big, he travels well and jumps well. You just have to point him and sit there and put a leg either side.

“Cheltenham is going to be another challenge for him over fences, but he is experienced now at this stage of the season, so hopefully it shouldn’t pose too much of a problem.”

The Glancing Queen has won two of three over fences this season for King and while well held when runner-up to subsequent Grade One winner L’Homme Presse in the Dipper Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham, Cannon hopes she will go one better in the Mrs Paddy Power Mares’ Chase (March 18).

“Edwardstone and The Glancing Queen are my two main ones,” he added. “But Third Wind, who won the Rendlesham Hurdle at Haydock last February, would have a good chance in the Pertemps Handicap Hurdle.

“A lot of it depends on the weather. Some horses, if we had soft ground, would run above themselves, and if we got good ground it would suit a few others better.”

Cannon brought up his half century in record time at Kempton with Aucunrisque doing it the hard way to provide Winchester-based Gordon with his second Dovecote Novices’ Hurdle in three years.

Aucunrisque sparked the treble for Cannon at Kempton
Aucunrisque sparked the treble for Cannon at Kempton (Simon Marper/PA)

Gordon and Cannon doubled up with Storm Dennis, who landed the two-mile-five-furlong handicap hurdle, and the rider added a third with Onewayortother in the bumper for Beare Green handler Toby Lawes.

Cannon is now well on course to eclipsing his best-ever total of 52 winners in a season which he tallied last season and in the 2014/15 campaign.

“On paper I had three good chances, but you race every day with chances and can go home with nothing and the fact that came in was great,” he added.

“I had a treble on the same card two years ago, actually – Who Dares Wins, Mystical Clouds and Highway One O Two – so it is a good day for me. I’ll have to ring it in the calendar now, as it is like my Cheltenham!”

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