Pearl King on top for a day

Pearl King continued on the upgrade with a comfortable win in the John Smith’s Extra Smooth Handicap Hurdle, the opening race on Grand National day.

Pearl King continued on the upgrade with a comfortable win in the John Smith’s Extra Smooth Handicap Hurdle, the opening race on Grand National day.

Philip Hobbs’ grey, a 10-1 chance, had been absent since May but once again proved the advantage of taking a fresh horse to the meeting and Richard Johnson always looked confident.

Donald McCain, looking for a boost ahead of Cloudy Lane’s run in the National, went close with the front-running Khachaturian but Pearl King pulled seven lengths clear after the last.

Heathcote was third, with Serabad fourth.

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