Burke Maps Out Ambitious Campaign for Hunt Ball
Trainer Keiren Burke has spoken of his plans this season for last term’s biggest fairytale success Hunt Ball, the horse who has feature prominently in Betfair horse racing odds in recent months after going from being no more than a selling plater to a Cheltenham Festival winner in the space of five months.
Hunt Ball’s 2011/12 National Hunt campaign was the stuff that dreams are made of, the seemingly moderate gelding beginning the term on a lowly mark of just 69, then ending it rated 154 after zooming through the ranks in one of the most dramatic form surges seen in modern times.
His six victories were highlighted by a brilliant success at the Cheltenham Festival in March when under top weight of 12 stone he slammed White Star Line by eight lengths to land the listed Pulteney Land Investments’ Novices Chase amidst scenes of ecstasy rarely witnessed even in the hallowed winners enclosure at Prestbury Park that has welcomed in so many great horses over the years.
Owned by the flamboyant dairy farmer Anthony Knott – who earlier in the season had been fined for riding his own horse into the winners enclosure together with jockey Nick Scholfield – the Winged Love gelding ended his dream season with a great run to be third to Ireland’s Follow The Plan in the Grade 1 Betfred Bowl Chase at the Aintree Festival in April.
After tips to bet on horse racing suggested that charge has done really well through the summer, Burke’s star is to be first targeted at the BetVictor Gold Cup back at Cheltenham in November (for which he has been installed an 8/1 joint-favourite with the sponsors alongside Colin Tizzard’s Cue Card), and if all goes well there will be trained with a crack at the King George VI Chase at Kempton Park on Boxing Day very much at the top of the priority list.