Balthazar King can rule again in Cross Country Chase
David Metcalf | March 14, 2016
Balthazar King can collect a third Cross Country Chase crown
Balthazar King has a superb record at Cheltenham and can further enhance it by landing a third success in the 3m 6f Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase on day two of the Festival (16.10).
The Philip Hobbs trained 12-year-old is an eight-time winner at the venue, and won this race in 2012 and 2014.
Balthazar King simply relishes the twists and turns of the unique cross country course, and is a bold jumper who likes to race at the head of affairs.
Tremendous attitude and goes well fresh
Those are the ideal attributes for this contest, and the gelding is also as tough as nails and a very hard horse to pass once in front.
Although Balthazar King has not been seen since suffering broken ribs and a punctured lung after tumbling at the Canal Turn in last year’s Grand National, he has a good record fresh and reported to be in terrific shape.
The son of King’s Theatre is also the third highest-rated in the line-up off an official rating of 153 and, with the race no longer a handicap, that is a big plus as Balthazar King is able to race against inferior rivals off level weights.
Bolger duo command plenty of respect
Irish trainer Enda Bolger has won the race four times and has two strong contenders in Josies Orders and Quantitativeeasing.
The former has scored twice over course and distance this season, staying on strongly on both occasions to win with more in hand than the winning margin suggests.
Josies Orders clearly loves the course, and warmed up for this with a spin over hurdles at Navan.
The eight-year-old remains open to further improvement, but is rated 5lb below Balthazar King and faces no easy task now that the race is not a handicap.
Quantitativeeasing was going strongly in last year’s renewal when getting carried out two from home and the 11-year-old looks sure to make a bold bid to gain compensation.
Foxrock has a touch of class
Foxrock is a classy sort and another fascinating contender for Ireland. The Ted Walsh eight year-old won the valuable Leopardstown Handicap Chase last season and went on to finish a fine second to Carlingford Lough in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Leopardstown.
Foxrock also ran a cracker when a one length third to leading Gold Cup hope Don Poli in the Grade 1 Lexus Chase at Leopardstown on his penultimate outing, but his previous two runs at the Festival have been disappointing and this will be the first time that he has run in a cross country event.
Coral’s top tip: Balthazar King comes alive at Cheltenham and can make a dream winning return to action. Josies Orders looks the pick of Enda Bolger’s runners and can give him most to do.