Alan King: Balder Succes on course for Ascot, Uxizandre won’t run at Newbury if ground is soft
We stepped Balder Succes up to 2 ½ miles earlier in the month at Kempton and that seems to have done his confidence the world of good. He travelled easily through the race and, even though we’ve only done the odd canter since, he has been in wonderful form. Emma Lavelle’s horse (Fox Appeal), who was second to us at Kempton, has come out and run a cracker since, so the form looks solid too.
The plan is to stick to the same trip for the time being and head to Ascot in a couple of weeks for the Ascot Chase (2 miles and 5 furlongs). We haven’t run him over the trip before, but he certainly didn’t appear to be stopping at Kempton and has won over 2 ½ miles around Chepstow. You often find with these former good juvenile hurdlers that they end up needing further in time anyway.
Ascot will tell us whether we’ll head to Cheltenham for the Ryanair Chase or drop back for the Betway Champion Chase and I’m certainly not ruling anything out at this stage. We’ll know a lot more about Sprinter Sacre’s wellbeing over the coming weeks and we are all due to have our first look at Sire De Grugy at Newbury next weekend. The key, at this stage, is to keep all our options open.
As for Uxizandre, he’s just done his first bit of work since Leopardstown at Christmas and could head to Newbury next weekend for the Game Spirit if the ground isn’t soft or worse. We got away with conditions at Cheltenham in November as, even though it was soft, he could get through it. However, the very deep ground at Leopardstown was simply too holding for him and he hated it. If the ground softens at Newbury we are likely to head straight to Cheltenham for the Betway Champion Chase or the Ryanair Chase – like Balder Succes, he holds entries for both races and we’ll keep our options open.
Read Alan King’s weekly column in the Racing Post Weekender every Wednesday to get the low-down on all his other runners