Balder Succes (20/1), one of four horses entered by Alan King for the valuable Grade 3 Betfair Hurdle Newbury on February 9, will look to bounce back from a disappointing run at Ascot on his most recent start and on previous form would have a serious chance of being in the money in the ultra-competitive two-mile handicap, writes Elliot Slater.
King, whose Grumeti (16/1) appears to be his other serious candidate for the contest, was expecting big things from Balder Success at Ascot in December in the Ladbroke Handicap Hurdle, but like a number of other fancied tips racing contenders the French-bred gelding simply failed to handle the extremely testing heavy ground that many felt was only borderline raceable and finished well down the field.
Better judged on his previous efforts, the five year-old had run two fine races earlier this term, coming home a rock solid third behind the smart Zarkandar at Wincanton in November in the Grade 2 Elite Hurdle before cosily disposing of Hollow Tree by six-lengths at Haydock in the Betfair Commits £40 Million to British Racing Hurdle in late-November.
A tough son of Goldneyev, Balder Succes won on his racecourse bow at Auteuil in November 2011 before being purchased by Mastersons Holdings Ltd for an undisclosed amount. He made an immediate repayment to his new connections when scoring on his first British outing at Plumpton last January, followed up at Ascot three weeks later in impressive fashion, then completed a British hattrick and remained unbeaten in four when repeating the feat at Ascot in February, easily accounting for the decent Captain Sunshine.
A faller at the fourth flight when well fancied for the Grade 1 JCB Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival last March, Balder Succes’ season ended in frustration when sent off favourite for the Grade 1 AES Champion Four-Year-Old Hurdle at the Punchestown Festival on his final start of the campaign when got no further than the first flight where he unseated a furious Robert Thornton.