It was very poignant that my blog pick Sego Success (W Hutchinson, 11/8 fav) just happened to be Alan King’s 1000th career success yesterday. Ballybolley (S Twiston-Davies, 7/4) was the other blog winner on the afternoon.
Ian Brindle of the Sportinglife picks out his favourite King winners. Do you agree or are there any glaring omissions?
Voy…por-ing it on.
VOY POR USTEDES
Soft going may have seen Sir Robert Ogden’s horse at his best but on his day he was a particularly tough nut to crack and he won an Arkle (2006) and a Queen Mother Champion Chase (2007) at the Cheltenham Festival. The presence of Master Minded was unfortunate at the time when he was reaching the peak of his powers though he comprehensively lowered his colours in the Melling Chase at Aintree in 2008.
Won a handicap on the Flat for Mick Channon and while physically not the greatest specimen to look at, what he lacked in size he more than made up for in heart and determination. Started off his hurdling career at Market Rasen as a “summer jumper” and ultimately proved much better than that – landing the Triumph Hurdle by nine lengths in 2007 before producing a shock in the Champion Hurdle a year later. After that peak, he was never to win again but three Grade 1′s and three Grade 2′s advertised King’s skills perfectly.
MY WAY DE SOLZEN
Staying was most definitely his game and as a six-year-old he looked to have the world at his feet when taking the 2006 World Hurdle. Took advantage of gluepot conditions in 2007 to score in the Arkle over two miles at the Cheltenham Festival in a season that saw him oblige four times over fences.
A horse with clear talent but similarly with much attitude. Though he may have been maligned by some, a perusal at his career shows he beat Inglis Drever in the Cleeve Hurdle (2007) and the Liverpool Hurdle (2008) and though success at the Festival was to elude him, he registered a Grade 1 victory at Punchestown in the World Series Hurdle of that year. King reinvented him as a staying chaser and under a cracking ride from Wayne Hutchinson, the pair picked up a decent handicap at Ffos Las in 2011.
Still very much part of the team at Barbury Castle and a very slick hurdler during his early days, winning the Future Champions Hurdle at Chepstow before finishing second to Zaynar in the Triumph Hurdle in 2009. Went on to pick up a further Grade 1 later that season at Aintree when scoring in the Anniversary Hurdle by a cool 13 lengths.
It may be a little early to put him in this list though you couldn’t fault his victory in the Scottish Grand National last season. A winner of five and placed in a further four of his 14 career starts, it would be no surprise to see King dreaming of glory at Aintree with the fast improving seven-year-old.
WEST END ROCKER
A stylish handicapper and much loved by the public. He truly dotted up in the 2011 Becher Chase seeing off his rivals by a massive 22 lengths having won the Classic Chase at Warwick earlier that year. A tough nut to crack when the mud began to fly, his career record of five wins regrettably didn’t do justice to just how good he was.
Though he failed to train on past his “juvenile” status, he carried a level of expectation seldom seen about a horse at that stage of his career. In fairness, there was good reason for that to be so. The ease of victory at Cheltenham in the Prestbury Juvenile Novices Hurdle of 2007 lived long in the memory in terms of its brilliance and the horse proved that to be no fluke with further successes in Graded company at Prestbury Park and at Chepstow. Sent off an Evens favourite for that season’s Triumph Hurdle, he only found Celestial Halo too good and regrettably never seemed the same horse since.
Today’s Catterick fancies:
12.20 Catt- Amir Pasha & Funky Munky (e/w).
12.50 Catt- Forestside (e/w).
1.20 Catt- Most Honourable (e/w).
1.50 Catt- Holywell (win).
2.20 Catt- Maison De Ville (win).
2.50 Catt- Categorical (win).
3.20 Catt- Eternal Vine (e/w).
Bringing you the racing classics!