Leading trainer Alan King gives us the latest on top Betway Champion Chase hope Balder Succes
Everything is good with Balder Succes ahead of his run in tomorrow’s Tingle Creek at Sandown, which has been his target for some time. He has been working really well on the grass since his reappearance run in the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter and will strip much fitter and sharper now.
Our horses usually improve for that first run and he’ll take his chance in what looks an open race. There may be no Sprinter Sacre and Sire De Grugy, but there are still nine others including God’s Own.
The only thing is we are without his regular jockey and we’ve booked Richard Johnson to ride. Richard has never ridden him before so he’s coming to us today (Friday) to pop him over six or so fences.
It’s difficult to make plans for the season until we get tomorrow out of the way, but we plan to stick down the two-mile route and hopefully all roads will lead to the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in March. That’s certainly the target if he’s as good as we hope he might be and we know he’ll stay further too.
In terms of where we might go after Sandown, I suppose the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton and then the Game Spirit at Newbury are obvious stepping stones, but let’s just take each race at a time for now.
As for a trip back to the Festival, I’m not worried by the fact that he’s failed to complete any of his three races at Cheltenham to date. He fell early on in the Triumph Hurdle, unseated in a Champion Hurdle, but was absolutely tanking when coming down in his Novice Chase there. He was four lengths clear when falling at the second last, but was completely blinded by the sun that day.
He’s won at Chepstow, Aintree, Warwick and Kempton since so has proved he can handle any track really.
Read Alan King’s weekly column in the Racing Post Weekender every Wednesday to get the low-down on all his other runners