Philip Hobbs camp not keen on Grand National for Balthazar King

Balthazar King is more likely to run in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase at the Cheltenham Festival than the Crabbie’s Grand National after he made a welcome return to Philip Hobbs’ yard yesterday.

Philip Hobbs camp not keen on Grand National for Balthazar King

The 11-year-old is back at Hobbs’ stables after a long spell recuperating from an awful injury he sustained at Aintree in this year’s National.

Balthazar King suffered broken ribs after being cannoned into by another horse when falling at the Canal Turn and spent some time at the University of Liverpool’s equine hospital.

A frequent winner over Cheltenham’s unique cross-country course, Balthazar King also finished second to Pineau De Re over the big fences at Aintree in 2014, but the Hobbs camp are only lukewarm about a return to Merseyside.

“He has arrived back in the yard and we’re all very happy about that as we’re all very fond of him,” said the trainer’s wife, Sarah.

“The aim will be Cheltenham in March and then we’ll look at taking him back to France again as he really enjoyed that.

“The Cheltenham race is a conditions race this season, which will suit him much better than it being a handicap.

“We might give him an entry in the National but after what happened to him I don’t know if we’d be too keen on taking him back.

“I know it was bad luck what happened, but he did fall first and then another horse ran into him. We’ll just have to see on that front.

“He looks absolutely fantastic and everyone is delighted with him.”

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