Duel At Dawn has Festival in sight after Exeter win

Edgcote trainer Alex Hales
Edgcote trainer Alex Hales

Alex Hales has earmarked the National Hunt Chase at next year’s Cheltenham Festival for Duel At Dawn.

Both Edgcote trainers Ben Case and his neighbour Hales have seen star inmates enter the winner’s enclosure during the past week.

Duel At Dawn ensured his second run over fences was a winning one at Exeter on Sunday.

The seven-year-old won the Bet £10 Get £20 At 188Bet Novices Chase, ridden by Kielan Woods, and now has a long term aim of the 4m National Hunt Chase at the Festival.

Hales also enjoyed a winner last week with Running Wolf successful at Leicester. The six-year-old won the Katherine Swynford Handicap Chase, also partnered by Woods.

Graceful Legend landed the spoils at Ascot on Saturday for Case.

The six-year-old won the Trisoft Mares Handicap Hurdle. After one indifferent run at Wetherby, the consistent Graceful Legend’s reappearance at Stratford was rewarded with odds of 11/1 as Max Kendrick guided home the mare to a fifth career success, stepped up in trip and with cheek-pieces added.

Case said she is now likely to contest a mares’ race at Cheltenham next month or go to Kempton over the festive period. Case was chuffed with a return to form by Themanfrom Minella, runner-up at Exeter on Sunday, but frustrated by Monday faller Kings Temptation at Kempton when he appeared to be full of running.

Mollington trainer Paul Webber has a couple of entries at Towcester today (Thursday).

Cosmic Diamond runs in the Weatherbys Racing Bank Mares Handicap Hurdle while Youknowell goes in the Weatherbys Birdie Calendar 2018 Mares Maiden Hurdle, in which Chipping Norton trainer Charlie Longsdon has entered Cadeaux’s Fire and Scented Lily.