YORKSHIRE trainer Brian Ellison will resist any temptation to rush Windsor Avenue into a higher grade after the seven-year-old delighted him with a wide-margin victory on chasing debut.
Windsor Avenue was the middle leg of a Sunday treble for Ellison’s Malton yard at Sedgefield, and he intends to stay local in search of continued education over fences before the winning pointer heads for any tougher tests.
Ellison has never made any secret of his high hopes for Windsor Avenue, who has four wins in bumpers and novice hurdles and has always appeared to be a potentially high-class chaser in the making. He duly coasted to victory by more than 20 lengths in a near two-and-a-half-mile beginners’ chase, with his main market rival Western Ryder running below expectations.
Ellison said: “He was very polished, and he did it well. He loved the ground. It obviously helped when the other favourite didn’t perform, but he couldn’t have done it any better.
“He’s growing more into himself. He’s a big horse, and he’s always been quite classy working as well. He’s still young, so we’ll just look for another similar race and see from there.”
Ellison reports stable star Definitly Red – owned, like Windsor Avenue, by Tickhill businessman Phil Martin – on course to defend his Charlie Hall Chase title at Wetherby on Saturday week.
He said: “He’s in good form. He’s going to go there pretty fit – he’s had two racecourse gallops. He’s schooled great again. He just does his job, gets on with it, no frills about him – and he loves it, and is a great horse to have.”
Ellison still senses the 10-year-old is capable of a top-level success. “It’s just finding one that Willie Mullins doesn’t turn up in, or (Paul) Nicholls,” he said. “But whatever, he’s done us proud, and he’s been a great horse.”