Brian Ellison eyes Windsor Avenue return

BRIAN Ellison hopes to have rising star Windsor Avenue back in action by the end of next month after his weekend disappointment.

Trainer Brian Ellison.

The highly-regarded novice chaser was sent off favourite to beat Jedd O’Keeffe’s Sam Spinner at Doncaster on Saturday after his two faultless previous runs over fences.

However Windsor Avenue, who runs in the same colours as Ellison’s stable star Definitly Red, never looked happy at any stage of the Grade Two December Novices’ Chase – trailing in well beaten – and it later emerged that he returned a dirty scope.

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“He’s on antibiotics – he scoped badly after the race – but I honestly don’t think he stayed anyway,” said Malton-based Ellison.

Cyrname is due to line up in the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day but will Harry Cobden stay loyal to the steeplechaser?

“He’s fine really – he’ll be right in a week or so.

“He should have gone a bit further, even if it was just stamina, but I’ve watched the race a few times and he’s a horse who likes to get into a rhythm and bowl along – but it just didn’t happen.”

Ellison has concluded the near 40-length winner Sam Spinner is “exceptional”.

He added: “When the other two went on, Brian (Hughes) decided to ride a waiting race, but he never got into a rhythm at any stage.

“He blew pretty hard when he came back, and he scoped badly. We even scoped him before the race too, and he was clean, so it’s amazing.

“We’ll hope to get him out at the end of January, something like that. I’ll talk to Phil (Martin, owner) – we might just look to get a confidence boost into him somewhere.

“At least something showed up – but all fairness to the winner, I think he’s exceptional.”

Meanwhile, Cyrname’s owner Johnny de la Hey feels three miles is well within his horse’s compass ahead of the Ladbrokes King George VI Chase at Kempton Park on Boxing Day.

De la Hay’s reasons for optimism are based on Cyrname finishing strongly over two miles and five furlongs at Ascot last month when Harry Cobden’s mount claimed the coveted scalp of Altior in the Christy 1965 Chase.

“I don’t think I’m too worried about him going the extra distance,” said De la Hey.

“I think if the ground got really heavy that would be a bit more worrying, but he’s run through the line every time at Ascot over two-mile-five so I think he should be fine.

“There are some good horses against him. Lostintranslation, Clan Des Obeaux, and probably a few others, are good horses so we will have to be on the top of our game to win.

“I wouldn’t be too scared if someone took us on (up front). We don’t need to go out in front. We can do other things. I think he’s relaxed enough now. He’s grown up so we’ll do what we’re going to do and if someone takes us on we’ll have to go to Plan B.”

Cobden, stable jockey to Paul Nicholls, partnered Cyrname in those three Ascot victories, but now has to choose between the horse or defending champion Clan Des Obeaux. “There are a couple of other people in my mind if Harry doesn’t want to ride. We’ll make the decision when we know what Harry is going to do,” added the owner.