DANNY COOK believes that it could be another year before dual Cheltenham winner Midnight Shadow reaches his full potential.
The strapping seven-year-old horse won the Grade Two Dipper Novices’ Chase on New Year’s Day when the pacesetting Champ fell at the second last.
It was the second successive year that the horse, trained by Yorkshire racing legends Sue and Harvey Smith, had won at the fixture following victory in the Relkeel Hurdle 12 months previously.
Connections are likely to consider either the JLT Novices Chase over two and a half miles, the Dipper distance, or the three mile RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.
“I am chuffed for everybody involved – the owners Cyril and Aafke Clarke, Sue and Harvey, for myself and Reece, the lad who led him up and rides him every day. It was a good team effort,” enthused Cook.
I have got this lad beaten a few times by getting to the front too soon.Danny Cook
“I have got this lad beaten a few times by getting to the front too soon, so I went back to basics today and got a lead for as long as I could. I keep coming to the front looking like I am going to win the race and then finishing second and third. I was keen in my mind to follow for as long as I could. To be fair, I don’t think that I would have beaten Champ but I would have been a nice second. I have ended up winning, so I will take it.”
Cook, who is stable jockey to the Smiths, added: “He ended up picking up an injury halfway through the season last year (after the Relkeel) and missed the rest of the season.
“As soon as he came back this year, we have gone straight to chasing and have never looked back. I think he will get three miles in time but I am quite keen for the moment to stick to two and a half. He has a very forward way of going and, over three miles, he is probably not quite ready to see it out yet. “Give him another year and then we will step him up in trip.”