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King to taste more big race joy with Hold On Julio in Bet 365 Gold Cup

Sandown’s 3m5f Bet 365 Chase brings the curtain down on another enthralling National Hunt campaign and the marathon handicap looks a suitably fascinating contest for such an occasion.  April has seen Wiltshire-based trainer Alan King back among the big race scorers and he’s capable of chalking up one more here with Hold On Julio – 12/1 to to win the race with Coral.

It’s been a golden April for Alan King thanks to two Graded winners. First his filly L’Unique took the Grade 1 juvenile hurdle at the Aintree Festival, then he sent out Godsmejudge who went on to record an authoritative Scottish Grand National victory.

His Hold On Julio was a very exciting prospect when recording consecutive Sandown victories in his second and third races after a three year lay off back in November 2011. Since then he’s proved a difficult beast to get to grips with, failing to win any of his subsequent seven starts.

For all the disappointment this term there have been some very positive performances, such as when fifth in the Hennessey behind Bobs Worth, when he finished in front of subsequent English and Welsh Grand National medallist Teaforthree, giving that rival 2lbs. That performance came hot on the heels of a less than two-length loss to the re-opposing Balthazar King when giving that one 5lbs.

He returns to Sandown, a renowned test of jumping rhythm, with past mastery of the track in his locker courtesy of the two aforementioned wins. As well as Balthazar King he’s also better off at the weights than when a quarter length behind Galaxy Rock at Cheltenham and finished more than 40 lengths in front of Saint Are and Duke Of Lucca.

Alan King has his horses firing of late with six winners, eight seconds and three thirds from his last  29 runners and at 12/1 his mercurial Sandown lover Hold On Julio can land him a third graded win of the month and round off another great season of National Hunt racing.