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Kumbeshwar Among Strong King Team for The Showcase

Trainer Alan King looks set to be well represented at The Showcase this weekend, with five horses in the frame for the opening meeting of Cheltenham’s season on Friday, October 18 and Saturday, October 19.

© Racehorse Photos


Kumbeshwar is due to step up to two and a half miles for Saturday’s £50,000 Equus-Fine Dining At The Festival Handicap Chase (2.35pm) following several good efforts over shorter trips last season.

The six-year-old scored in a two-mile graduation chase at Haydock in November and was second to the mighty Sprinter Sacre in the BetVictor Tingle Creek Chase over the same distance at Sandown Park the following month.

He ended his campaign with two appearances over an extended two miles at Cheltenham, coming home fifth behind Sprinter Sacre in the re-arranged Clarence House Chase in January prior to falling early on in the Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase at The Festival.

King commented: “Kumbeshwar is due to school on Thursday morning and, provided everything goes well, I think that we will run him at Cheltenham. He has done very well over the summer and is in good order at the moment.

“I think that he will be fine over two and a half miles. The plan later in the season is to step him up to three miles, so I would hope that he will get the trip on Saturday.

“He is fairly well exposed – he’s not well handicapped – but we have to live with that and we certainly haven’t hidden him away. We will see how he gets on this weekend before deciding where to aim him next.”

Barbury Castle-based King has started the season in a rich vein of form and his potential runners at The Showcase also include a pair who won at Chepstow on October 12.

Balder Succes
© Racehorse Photos

Balder Succes
Balder Succes could bid to build on a winning debut over fences in the £20,000 Royal Gloucestershire Hussars Novices’ Chase (5.00pm) on Saturday, while Handazan, who readily captured a handicap hurdle, may line up in the £30,000 Masterson Holdings Hurdle (3.10pm) on the same card.

Talented chaser Hold On Julio will switch to the smaller obstacles for Saturday’s £17,000 Jools Holland Here On 9th November Novices’ Hurdle (2.00pm), while the rapidly improving Pantxoa will aim for a fourth consecutive win in the £20,000 Ryman Stationery Cheltenham Business Club Novices’ Chase (3.50pm) on Friday.

King added: “Balder Success and Handazan are also possible runners and I want to see how they are on Friday before confirming them. They both did a canter on Wednesday morning but I am just waiting until Friday to make up my mind.

“Hold On Julio definitely runs on Saturday and I think that we will stick with the hurdling route for the time being. He was fifth in the Hennessy last year but he wasn’t good enough then and I don’t think he will be again this year.

“Pantxoa will also take his chance in the novices’ chase on Friday. He’s gone from a mark of 119 to 142 on his three latest starts, so he is certainly going the right way.”

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