Gonalston Cloud can put trainer Nick Kent on cloud nine by winning the £40,000 Bet 365 Edinburgh National (2.05) at Musselburgh tomorrow.
Kent trains a small string in North Lincolnshire and his gelding makes the long trip north with sound prospects of taking the first running of this marathon chase over four miles.
The ten-year-old won on five of his six point-to-point appearances and has added four victories over fences since switching to racing under rules. He won twice at Catterick and once at Doncaster at around this time last term and finished second in a valuable novice chase final at Haydock Park in March last year – all over three miles or more.
He was pulled up on his reappearance at Haydock in November after an eight-month break and then finished fifth at Bangor before winning over three-and-a-half miles at Market Rasen on Boxing Day where he kept on strongly.
Gonalston Cloud underlined his stamina when doing all his best work at the finish when second in the North Yorkshire National over three and three-quarter miles at Catterick recently.
The handicapper put him up 3lbs for that effort, but the gelding has risen more than three stones in the ratings since that first victory at Catterick just 13 months ago. This is his toughest test yet, but he is still on the upgrade.
Crackdeloust won his only race in France last summer before joining Yorkshire trainer Brian Ellison and the youngster looked a smart recruit when chasing home a highly rated rival on his British debut in a bumper at Haydock in November. The five-year-old makes his hurdling debut tomorrow, but Ellison reports that he has schooled really well at home and he can take the Bet365 British Stallion Studs Maiden Hurdle (12.25) which opens the card of eight races. Ellison can make it a double with Dominada in the Bet365 Scottish County Hurdle (3.15). The five-year-old has been in fine form, winning three of his last four races at Carlisle, Ludlow and on this track on New Year’s Day.
Needless to say, he is climbing the weights and this is a competitive event, but young Megan Carberry – who has been on board for all three of those recent wins – can claim a handy 5lbs allowance. The gelding goes well on the seaside circuit, having also won here on the flat last spring.
Charli Parcs can boost his Cheltenham Festival claims by winning the Bet365 Scottish Triumph Hurdle Trial (1.30) for top trainer Nicky Henderson, who rates the French import highly.
A half-brother to three winners in his home country, the juvenile won on his only start at Enghein in France before changing hands for ¤250,000 and was an impressive winner on his British debut at Kempton recently.
He missed a race at Cheltenham last week because of the heavy ground, but underfoot conditions in East Lothian should be perfect and he can make the long trek from Lambourn pay off.
Selections: 12.25: Crackdeloust; 1.30: Charli Parcs; 2.05: Gonalston Cloud; 3.15: Dominada.