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Balthazar King set to reign in Cross Country Chase at Cheltenham

Balthazar King looks set to be the horse to beat in the Cross Country Chase at the 2014 Cheltenham Festival.

Balthazar King confirmed his position at the top of the cross-country pile by landing the Glenfarclas Chase at Cheltenham in November.

Although there were a couple of brief scares in the race, including a howling blunder at the third fence, and the fact that he had to endure persistent harrying from Any Currency throughout the second half of the contest, Richard Johnson's mount looked well in control for much of the race.

After the race delighted winning trainer Philip Hobbs explained: "He's a very accurate jumper and he tries very hard, although at the third today he hit it very hard and he nodded at one or two others so he wasn't foot perfect.

"He just took off too far away and they were lucky to stay together.

"This is the race he has a chance to win as its a conditions race, the others are handicaps.

"He does have some options in France - not now, in the spring - and he may have a break."

Meanwhile, delighted winning jockey Johnson added:  "We had a bit of a scare at the third - he was a bit brave and landed on top of it - but he is just such an honest horse.

"I am not even sure that he was really sparkling today but he just wants to please and tries really hard."


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Balthazar King set to reign in Cross Country Chase at Cheltenham

Balthazar King looks set to be the horse to beat in the Cross Country Chase at the 2014 Cheltenham Festival.

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