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National Hunt horses to follow - Three of Alan King’s horses to track during the new jumps season

Jonathan Vine 13 Oct 2018
Alan King rocking a lovely hat at Ludlow last season.

We take a look through Alan King’s ranks for the new jumps season and highlight three horses to add to your tracker.

Alan King was dealt a blow before last season began when rising star, Messire Des Obeaux was ruled out for the entire campaign. This year, King has been handed a double dose of disappointment, with Yanworth set to be out until the New Year and Greatwood winner, Elgin set for a year on the sidelines.

Never-the-less, King has several stars within his Barbury Castle ranks with which to try and plunder some of National Hunt racing’s most prestigious prizes, with Sceau Royal set to resume his promising chasing career. We’ve taken a look through King’s stable and highlighted three horses for you to keep a close eye on over the coming months.

Canelo


Following two narrow second-place finishes on his opening bows for Alan King, Canelo was the beaten favourite as 100/1 shot, Samuel Jackson scored a surprise victory at Taunton. A 70-day break leading into the spring, however, did the trick, as Canelo won twice over hurdles and placed fourth in the Grade Three Handicap Hurdle Final at Sandown in April.

Usually a hold-up horse, Tom Cannon decided to take a more prominent position at Fontwell in April, where Canelo was ushered to the front with three hurdles to jump and the five-year-old comfortably pulled clear of some decent rivals. 

The plan is to go novice chasing when he makes his seasonal reappearance and, judging by his narrow defeat to Graded bumpers winner Blackbow in an Irish point to point, Canelo could quickly progress beyond his 128 hurdles rating over the larger obstacles. The December Novices’ Chase could be an early-season goal, with an outing in the JLT or RSA Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham an optimistic possibility.

Martin Harley riding Just In Time (left, white) to victory in The William Hill Mallard Handicap at Doncaster.

Just In Time


Flat racing fans will be more familiar with Just In Time than you jumps aficionados, having watched the son of Excelebration win three of his four starts on the level this year. An excellent victory over Austrian School in a Class Two at Doncaster has helped King’s four-year-old reach a flat rating of 97 - a mark very few horses reach before they embark on a career over jumps.

Just In Time holds an entry in the Cesarewitch and King will allow the gelding to take his chance in that historic handicap before getting ready to go jumping. Considering he’s a stayer on the flat, two mile hurdles may prove a little stiff, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Just In Time progressed into a genuine challenger in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle.

Redicean bounding clear of his rivals when winning the Adonis Hurdle.

Redicean


Whisper’s fluttered around the jumps racing scene during the winter that Redicean could be something special, leading to King’s hurdler being backed into odds-on favouritism for the Adonis Hurdle. Thankfully, the weight of expectation didn’t sit too heavily on his shoulders, as Redicean powered clear of some capable rivals to claim a maiden Graded prize over obstacles.

I was so taken with that display that I was all set to back Redicean in the Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. Poor weather conditions, however, meant King’s hurdler couldn’t perform at his best and that respectable sixth on heavy ground took it’s toll on Redicean, meaning he would miss both Aintree and Sandown later in the spring.

The Gerry Fielden at Newbury in December will be Redicean’s first port of call. Hopefully the ground will be nice enough during the winter for Redicean to take his chance in a big handicap hurdle like the Imperial Cup, or even the Kingwell at Wincanton. 

I’m firmly of the belief that this speedy sort has bundles of class and he could follow in the footsteps of stablemate Elgin by earning his spot in the Champion Hurdle. If that doesn’t pan out, then he could be an ideal type for the County Hurdle, should the ground at Cheltenham come up favourable this time around.


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National Hunt horses to follow - Three of Alan King’s horses to track during the new jumps season

We take a look through Alan King’s ranks for the new jumps season and highlight three horses to add to your tracker.

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