King for a day

Bet­ting­ make their big-race se­lec­tion

Racing Ahead - - CONTENTS -

The Grand Na­tional gives us the chance to pick up some in­cred­i­bly tal­ented horses at very gen­er­ous odds. While the high num­ber of en­trants and long-dis­tance trip in­creases the risks, tighter reg­u­la­tions sur­round­ing fences have given ad­e­quate jumpers a far bet­ter chance of com­ple­tion.

Shut­the­front­door jumped ter­ri­bly in his only 4m trip to date but still fin­ished a com­mend­able 6th and only 3 ¼ lengths from the win­ner. He looks the type to stay all day but will have to keep his jump­ing tidy if he’s to make it round here.

One ul­tra-con­sis­tent jumper over fences is last year’s fifth, Rocky Creek, who’s only poor out­ing came in Novem­ber when never set­tling. He had Godsmejudge over 30 lengths be­hind him that day which is quite a gulf,although the lat­ter should be far closer over this 4m 3 ½ fur­long trip.

Balt­hazar King cer­tainly won’t strug­gle over this dis­tance hav­ing fin­ished as run­ner-up here a year ago and the 3lbs rise should be eas­ily over­come. He has al­most ex­clu­sively been run over marathon dis­tances in re­cent years and the 11 year old is fan­cied to go might­ily close again with a big run an­tic­i­pated.

The reign­ing cham­pion, Pineau De Re, comes here look­ing to de­fend his crown but does so in unin­spir­ing form. Af­ter a long lay-off fol­low­ing his suc­cess 12 months ago, he has re­turned over dis­tances which haven’t tested him stamina-wise and it looks un­likely he’ll be able to take this in his cur­rent mood.

While Union­iste makes a sig­nif­i­cant step up in trip, he has al­ways looked as though he has plenty in tank with­out ever hav­ing the pace to chal­lenge over 3 miles. He was sired by Dom Alco who was re­spon­si­ble for pro­duc­ing 2012 Grand Na­tional win­ner,Nep­tune Col­longes,and many of his rel­a­tives seem to come into their own over the longer dis­tances. Un­doubt­edly tal­ented, he looks a great place prospect but may have to wait an­other year be­fore bring­ing home the win­ner’s tro­phy.

Balt­hazar King

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