Hunt Ball will not run in Cheltenham Gold Cup
Hunt Ball will not run in next month’s Cheltenham Gold Cup after trainer and owner revised their targets following a disappointing weekend.
Last year’s Festival hero finished a tired third to Cape Tribulation in the Argento Chase at the Gloucestershire racecourse on Saturday.
Handler Keiran Burke of Henley near Crewkerne was always reluctant to run Anthony Knott’s steeplchaser in the showpiece on March 15 and the pair will now turn their attentions to the Byrne Plate, a handicap over two miles five furlongs.
Knott said: “There’s no point kidding ourselves. We want to place him in a race we can win out there and the race for that is the Byrne Plate. It’s recoup some money time. This horse is going to have some wins by his name and that is an obvious race that would jump off the page.
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“Keiran wants to go to the (two mile five furlong) Ryanair Chase but there’s £13,500 now to stump up for that (at the supplementary stage) and at the end of the day I’ve done my money (on Hunt Ball in the Gold Cup) and I haven’t had a run yet so we are going to come down a little in class.
“I need to have a bet to recuperate some money and the obvious race for him is the Byrne Plate. He had a really hard race at Cheltenham the other day and I don’t want to bottom him again.”
Harry Fry (Seaborough near Crewkerne) took glory with Rock On Ruby in Monday’s 32Red Hurdle at Doncaster. However, the death of Nicky Henderson’s Derlan following a fall overshadowed the win.