Edredon Bleu will have a new jockey when he sets off in pursuit of a fourth consecutive victory in the Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon. Henrietta Knight's top-class chaser has been ridden by either Jim Culloty or Tony McCoy over the last four years, the two of them taking the ride ten times each, but Norman Williamson will have the honour on Saturday.
Culloty, who has ridden Edredon Bleu to all of his previous Peterborough Chase wins, has chosen to ride the stable's rising star Best Mate in Saturday's alternative Grade Two chase, the First National Gold Cup at Ascot, where McCoy will also be in action, riding for Martin Pipe.
Jim Lewis, who owns both Edredon Bleu and Best Mate, said: "I understand from Terry [Biddlecombe, husband of the trainer] that Norman came down and sat on Edredon this morning. I'm going to go to Huntingdon with Edredon Bleu. He's the horse who's done it all before and I would be sad if he was beaten this time and I wasn't there."
The stable was responsible for a 36-1 treble at Kempton yesterday with Stars Out Tonight, Red Blazer and Maximize, all ridden by Culloty, but the trainer herself was absent following the death of her 80-year-old mother Hester.
After Maximize, owned by Knight's sister, Lady Vestey, made all to beat Frosty Canyon in the novices' chase, Biddlecombe said: "It's a bit emotional. It's a funny old game – downs and lows, and then here we're all coming out on top. You've got to keep going forward."
Red Blazer, who is owned by Knight in partnership with her husband, was registering his first success over fences and his first victory of any kind since February 1998.
Stars Out Tonight, contrastingly, looks a star of the future for the yard, having rallied to beat Deep Sunset by a length and a half in the novices' hurdle. The winner is another to carry the maroon and blue colours of Jim Lewis. "He's a right three-mile chaser," added Biddlecombe, "and one day he'll go to Cheltenham."