Balthazar King reigns in France for Hobbs

PHILIP HOBBS was celebrating a plan well executed after Balthazar King and Richard Johnson struck in one of France’s most celebrated cross-country races.

A winner over the banks and ditches at the Cheltenham Festival in 2012, Balthazar King needed to find a leg a couple of times early on over the unique Craon course.

But coming back towards the stands for the last time the nine-year-old was full of running under Johnson and, having joined the leader Quick Baby at the last, class told as the pair ran out two and a half length winners.

“He was a bit novicey at one or two but he found his feet and, the further we went, the better he got,” said Johnson who, like his boss, was recording a first win in France. “Normally he’s a front-runner but with these fences we wanted to get a lead.”

Hobbs picked out the race as a target after Balthazar King failed to show his true form in better company last spring.

He said: “He was a bit disappointing in the Whitbread while we probably went too fast in front in the National and didn’t get home. He’s always a better horse fresh and I came here about seven years ago.   “I suppose he’ll go to the cross-country race at Cheltenham in November but, this having worked, we’ll look at other cross-country races in France.”

The Nick Williams-trained Shalimar Fromentro stayed on for fifth, one place behind the hat-trick seeking Chriseti.

Source: Racing Post 8th September 2013


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