Neil King trains just down the road from the unrelated Alan King at Barbury Castle, and the last few seasons have seen a steady progression in the number of winners for the stable, and the amount of prize-money won. Last season, King saddled 34 winners and won over £320,000 in prize-money, with his most notable success being that of Lil Rockerfeller in the Grade-2 National Spirit Hurdle.
However, King has struggled so far this season with just 12 winners on the board but, with the virus that has been plaguing the yard over the last few months now vanquished, it looks a great time to take a look at some of the stable’s runners that could find the winner’s circle in the next few months.
King believes his 120-rated hurdler is far better than his current mark, and his bumper form suggests he could be. 3-miles in the mud would be his ideal conditions and, though this former point-to-pointer’s future looks sure to be over fences, he should be able to pick-up a hurdle race before the end of the season.
122-rated chaser who has twice gone well at Lingfield this season, and should certainly have a race in him off this mark. Runs like he may appreciate a stamina test, and is being touted as a possible for the Midlands National, but has to prove he genuinely stays further than 3-miles.
Another 120-rated hurdler who has knocked on the door a couple of times this season. King has resisted sending him over fences so far in the belief that he should win 1 or 2 hurdle races, and should be followed with interest over the next few weeks.
The stable star is now rated 160, and his Ascot form when second to Yanworth (conceded 4lb) and when again runner-up to Unowhatimeanharry has been advertised in some style since. Being aimed at a defence of his crown in the National Spirit Hurdle on Sunday, and victory there should see him line-up in the Stayers Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival with an each-way chance.
A season that promised much hasn’t quite gone to plan for this 138-rated chaser, but his mark is now 7lb lower than when second in last year’s Midlands Grand National. That race sure to be on his agenda again, but could also run in the Eider Chase on Saturday. The Grand National is also a possibility but, as he’s unlikely to get a run there, he could again head to the Scottish National where he finished 9th last season.
OH LAND ABLOOM
Consistent 127-rated hurdler who runs better at Market Rasen than anywhere else. Taking a break now before coming back in the Spring, and there’s plenty of prize-money available at Market Rasen over the next few months.
140-rated chaser whose beating of Royal Vacation in a novice chase in October at Wetherby looks decent form now. Really seems to like Doncaster, so watch out for him running there, whilst he could be another worthy of a try at a trip in excess of 3-miles.