'Different animal' Strictlyadancer can continue to improve says Williams
Strictlyadancer completed a big-race hat-trick in the space of just 30 days at Haydock on Saturday, but he is far from finished this season with trainer Christian Williams suggesting "anything is possible" from the rapidly improving staying chaser.
Encore Racing's seven-year-old has proved a revelation this season, progressing from a fifth-place effort on his return to land amateur jockey handicaps at Cheltenham on his next two starts.
And just seven days on from that most recent success at Cheltenham, he was on the scoresheet again with another big Saturday win in the 3m1½f handicap chase at Haydock under Jack Tudor.
That success kept Strictlyadancer firmly on an upward curve, having gone from a Racing Post Rating of 107 on his comeback to 120, 125 and now 133 in his three wins, and Williams sees no reason why it will stop yet.
The trainer said: "Any winner is brilliant but to have a big Saturday one is even better. He improved for his first run to win at Cheltenham and won well, and when horses get in that frame of mind you never know what they might do. Strictlyadancer has proved that.
"He's turned into a different animal at home, which is great to see, and he's improved and stepped up for every run. Like any athlete when you're improving anything is possible, so it's great."
Williams believes Strictlyadancer can continue to excel this season, with the Betfair London National at Sandown on December 4 or a Grade 3 handicap chase the following Friday earmarked as potential targets before an ambitious spring campaign.
"He'll have an entry in both," Williams added. "He looks like he's a staying chaser and we'll step him up to that sort of trip. He probably doesn't want it too soft, so while he's going well we'll give him those two options.
"Then in the spring there are loads of options, like the bet365 [Gold Cup] and the Scottish National, which are both usually on nicer ground."
Strictlyadancer's win brought a change of mood for Williams following Waiting Patiently's disappointing first run for the yard in the Betfair Chase. He made an error at the first and never threatened before being pulled up four out.
Connections will assess his condition before deciding future targets.
"He was disappointing," Williams said. "He galloped into the first fence and never jumped or travelled after that. We'll speak to the owner and get him checked over at the start of the week to see if we can find anything.
"We were hoping for a big run, he was showing plenty at home. It was disappointing, so hopefully something shows up. It's all a bit up in the air at the moment but he seems fine in himself."
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