Edwardstone cruised to victory in the Betfair Exchange Game Spirit Chase at Newbury.

The 11-10 favourite under Tom Cannon, Alan King’s gelding made all of the running in the four-runner Grade Two.

His significant lead looked to lessen slightly with half of the race completed, but the gap soon widened again and was further increased when Boothill fell in the home straight.

Amarillo Sky did not finish either, leaving Funambule Sivola to trail home as the only other finisher some 40 lengths behind.

Edwardstone was notching his first victory since landing the 2022 Tingle Creek Chase and Coral responded to his sparkling success by cutting him to 8-1 from 14s for the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham.

Enzo Maresca insists Leicester must be wary of the Championship’s chasing pack after Ipswich stopped the Foxes going 10 points clear at the top.

Jeremy Sarmiento’s late leveller moved the visitors back into second and put a dent in the Foxes’ title procession following a 1-1 draw.

Leif Davis’ unfortunate first-half own goal gave the hosts the lead but they were unable to build on it.

Tom Cannon was twice thwarted by Vaclav Hladky while Mads Hermansen’s smart save from Wes Burns denied Ipswich an earlier leveller.

“I’ve felt the breath of Ipswich and Southampton since we started and I’ve felt Leeds’ breath also, the Championship is very long,” said Leicester boss Maresca, who served a suspension in the stands.

“If we’d won tonight we were 10 points from Ipswich and Southampton but losing or drawing it’s still very long.

“Now we are (going) in the right direction because of the performance but there are still many games.

“It’s always a shame when you drop points at the end. It happened there (in Ipswich) and happened tonight. It’s football, even if you go 2-0 up, until the end there is always danger. Overall, with the way we performed, I’m very happy.

“It was frustrating being in the stand because you don’t have the direct contact with the players. I feel frustrated about the result, not about the way we performed.”

Cannon and Hamza Choudhury went close during a confident opening from the Foxes but it took an own goal to break the deadlock after 31 minutes.

Stephy Mavididi swapped passes with Ricardo Pereira on the left and his low cross was turned into his own net by Davis – his second own goal in four games.

Pereira shot wide and Cannon went close as Leicester went for a second but they needed Hermansen to maintain their lead soon after the break when he turned Burns’ volley over.

Mavididi and Cannon had shots saved but Ipswich gradually found their edge in the second half and began to put the Foxes under real pressure, without testing Hermansen.

That was until in the final minute of normal time when Massimo Luongo was given space on the edge of the area and his drive was parried by Hermansen.

It fell straight to the unmarked Sarmiento to fire in, despite the best efforts of Hermansen, meaning Ipswich have rescued 21 points from losing positions this season.

Boss Kieran McKenna said: “The second half was much more like ourselves and we can take a lot of confidence from it. On the balance of the second half we probably deserved to get something from the game.

“We are coming back at lot, not losing many games, which is a reflection of the culture and togetherness in the group.

“I really liked the second half, there was a real conviction in the dressing room at half-time.

“I thought in the first half we didn’t manage to find that belief in ourselves but there was a real intent to go out in the second half and show that. There’s so long to go we have to focus on ourselves.

“We’re competing with teams on a points tally we’ve got no right to. Our focus remains to perform as well as we can.”

Jeremy Sarmiento’s late strike rescued a point for Ipswich and stopped Leicester moving 10 points clear at the top of the Championship.

The Foxes looked to be hanging on for victory until substitute Sarmiento’s goal with a minute left earned a 1-1 draw for the second-placed visitors.

Leif Davis’ second own goal in four games gave the hosts a first-half lead but it was one they failed to build on, even if they still sit seven points clear of Ipswich.

Efficient and functional, it would still take an implosion of some magnitude for Enzo Maresca’s side to fail to return to the top flight at the first attempt.

For Ipswich, Southampton’s 20-game unbeaten league run had helped eradicated an 11-point gap in just a month.

It meant they started the night third on goal difference behind the Saints but a point moved them back into the top two.

Leicester, coming off the back of just a fourth Championship defeat of the season after last week’s late 3-1 loss at Coventry, initially made Ipswich pay for a timid first half.

Tom Cannon’s shot was deflected behind by Luke Woolfenden but it was a slow burner until Vaclav Hladky turned Hamza Choudhury’s curling effort wide after 26 minutes.

A 1-1 draw with Leicester at Portman Road on Boxing Day showed Ipswich’s resilience and Conor Chaplin shot over but the hosts found a way through after 31 minutes.

Stephy Mavididi collected Harry Winks’ ball on the left before swapping passes with Ricardo Pereira.

The forward delivered a dangerous ball across the six-yard box and Hladky could only divert in onto the unfortunate Davis who inadvertently bundled into his own net.

Gaps soon started appearing for the Foxes and Pereira shot wide six minutes later and Hladky again saved from Cannon before the break as the host found a touch of swagger.

That was almost wiped away inside the opening five minutes of the second half as Mads Hermansen turned Wes Burns’ controlled volley over after the Foxes failed to clear a corner.

Yet it was the visitors’ only threat and Leicester settled quickly to create several openings.

Mavididi’s shot was blocked and Cannon’s acrobatic effort dropped wide before the striker continued his duel with Hladky and forced another save from 18 yards.

Jamie Vardy returned from injury as a late substitute and the Foxes looked to be hanging on for victory until the 89th minute.

Ipswich had improved as the half wore on and when Massimo Luongo was left with too much time on the edge of the box Hermansen saved his drive, only for Brighton loanee Sarmiento to follow up and snatch a point.

Tom Cannon is optimistic the step up in trip will help Edwardstone return to winning ways in Saturday’s Coral Silviniaco Conti Chase at Kempton.

In two outings this season over two miles, Alan King’s charge has been no match for Jonbon but he did get appreciably closer to him in the Tingle Creek than on his seasonal reappearance in the Shloer Chase.

Saturday will be the 10-year-old’s first run over two and a half miles since a hurdles effort back in April 2021, but Cannon feels it is the right move.

“I think it is a logical move, as Edwardstone is not getting younger and now is as good a time as ever to step him up in trip,” he said.

“Although he has not run over this distance over fences, he ran well over two and a half miles over hurdles when he was third at Aintree (in 2021).

“We are going back to slightly calmer waters having run in the Tingle Creek last time, but there are still some good horses in this race.

“It is still a competitive race, so he will have to be at his best to win.

“All his best runs have been around Sandown and he definitely improved for the run at Cheltenham in the Tingle Creek.

“I was more than happy with his run. It was as good a run as he had put in for a long time.”

Cannon went on: “He felt back to his best and, fingers crossed, he can continue that form going forwards.

“He has not been over-raced and he has been well managed throughout his career, which has been a big help.

“He had a jump last Thursday at home and he jumped very well, so there is no problem in that department. He seemed fresh and very well, so I couldn’t be happier with him.”

Tom Cannon cannot wait to be reunited with Edwardstone when he makes his seasonal reappearance in the Shloer Chase at Cheltenham on Sunday.

Alan King’s nine-year-old has shared many memorable days with the rider, none more so than their decisive Arkle victory at the Cheltenham Festival in 2022.

Last season included another Grade One success, this time in the Tingle Creek, and the bay was beaten just a head in the Clarence House in January.

There was no repeat Cheltenham Festival success as Edwardstone posted an uncharacteristic performance in the Queen Mother Champion Chase, but Cannon is happy to draw a line through that run as the duo return to the same track at the weekend.

He said: “Edwardstone has been good at home. I schooled him on Monday, and I schooled him last Monday as well. He seems very fresh and well in himself and I’m looking forward to Sunday.

“It is going to be a good race, but he doesn’t have any easy races now with the level he is at. He was meant to run in this race last season, but the ground was on the quicker side so he swerved it. He won first time out last year and he will be ready to go and do his best.

“He enjoyed it on Monday when I gave him a jump and he is a pleasure to have around and be involved with. He is a magnificent horse, not just to sit on but to look at as well.

“You get some horses that are good that might be small, but when you get on top of him it is like riding a horse into battle. He is a big strong brute of a horse that has got all the power in the right places.”

The Shloer Chase is run over a trip of two miles, Edwardstone’s usual trip, but there are discussions about stepping up in distance at a later point in the season and Cannon believes connections may find this outing helpful in making that decision.

“His pedigree suggests he will get further, and he ran further than two miles over hurdles and ran well. On his day he is a very quick two-miler which he showed in the Tingle Creek last season,” Cannon said.

“He probably wasn’t at his best after that, but we will see how we go in the race on Sunday and go from there.

“As he is getting bit older now, and with a few younger horses coming through, it might give us options if we go up further in trip.

“This is a case of testing the water with him and it is a nice place to go. I’m sure this will answer a few questions about where he will go for the rest of the season.”

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