Grand National Horses
Crabbie's Grand National

Balthazar King (IRE)

Breeding: b g King’s Theatre (IRE) - Afdala (IRE) (Hernando (FR))Breeder: Sunnyhill Stud

Born: February 12, 2004

Owner: The Brushmakers Trainer: Philip Hobbs

Form: 6/01436422/ F211242F06/ 1142511P/ 15P001/ 120P-11112/ F11F-F

Balthazar King
© Racehorse Photos

Balthazar King

8th April 2016 Dual Cheltenham Festival winner and Grand National runner-up Balthazar King has been retired.

The Philip Hobbs-trained veteran landed the Glenfarclas Chase over Cheltenham's cross-country course in 2012 and 2014.

He was runner-up to Pineau De Re in the 2014 Grand National, but suffered life-threatening injuries after falling in the Aintree race 12 months ago.

Balthazar King eventually returned to full health and made his comeback at Cheltenham last month, only to come to grief once more.

Hobbs told the Morning Line: " Where he broke his ribs he had that little dip and he was actually a bit worse after Cheltenham because the muscles around it wasted away a bit.

"He probably needs another year but by then he would be 13."

Balthazar King retires having won 16 times from 47 starts and earned almost £500,000 in win and place prize-money.

Race Record: Starts; 45; 1st: 16; 2nd: 8; 3rd: 1; Win & Place prize money: £489,912

The Brushmakers

The Brushmakers is a Hampshire-based trio involving farmer David Rees, born in 1972, his wife Maggie, retired farmer Chris Butler and Geoffrey Stevenson, who runs the Imperial Bathroom Company, and who Rees describes as ‘an old rugby-playing friend of mine’. They take their name from the Brushmakers pub at Upham near Winchester, in which Rees once owned a stake. When he subsequently moved to the other side of Winchester, to the village of Hursley, he discovered his new local was the Kings Head, but being unimpressed with it he bought that too. He describes himself as an “arable farmer who also milks cows and keeps pigs and poultry - one of the few truly mixed farms in Hampshire”. His interest in racing was derived through being a neighbour of the late trainer Bill Wightman, whose land Rees farmed. Wightman gave Rees a point-to-pointer and he has been involved in that sport ever since - one of his first buys was prolific winner Ball In The Net. He also raced Upham Lord, who was subsequently sold to Lincolnshire-based Mike and Jill Dawson and became Britain’s champion between the flags based on wins in 2002 and 2003. Rees says: “I have subsequently been involved in five or six horses trained by Philip Hobbs, including Tamango, who fell at The Chair in the Topham Chase [in 2006]. We bought Balthazar King privately from Diana Whateley [also an owner with Hobbs].” Imperial Bathrooms is the only independent British-owned bathroom company still manufacturing in the UK. Imperial was founded in 1987 by Stevenson, who is the chairman, and Imperial remains still a family-owned company and prides itself in supplying the highest-quality products to a worldwide marketplace. Situated in the heart of the ceramic industry in the West Midlands, Walsall- based Imperial produce original designs to the highest standards, each product undergoing rigorous testing. The Brushmakers also own another successful chaser trained by Philip Hobbs – Roalco De Farges.

Crabbie’s Grand National Record: 2013 Balthazar King (15th); 2014 Balthazar King (2nd)


Philip Hobbs (Bilbrook, Somerset)

Born July 26, 1955 Background: Philip was brought up surrounded by horses. His father Tony Hobbs farmed, and had a permit to train for many years, breeding several good horses to run in the family colours. After school at King’s College, Taunton, Philip went on to Reading University and achieved a BSc honours degree. He rode at Hickstead, show jumping as a junior, and gained several point-to-point winners and winners under National Hunt rules as an amateur before turning professional at the age of 21. Partnered 160 winners in a 10-year riding career including the Black and White Gold Cup at Ascot, the Killiney Novice Chase and the Midlands Grand National on such good horses as West Tip and Artifice. Hobbs made four appearances in the Grand National as a professional jockey in the 1980s and, although one of the best horses he rode was West Tip, he didn't get the leg up on him in the National, with those four rides resulting in two falls, one ninth place and an 11th. He started training in August, 1985, with only six horses and was successful with his very first runner, North Yard at Exeter. He is now one of Britain’s top jump trainers and has gone close to winning the Crabbie’s Grand National with What’s Up Boys, second in 2002, Balthazar King in 20914 and Samlee, third in 1998. Philip’s wife Sarah, whom he married in 1982, is the daughter of Bertie Hill, who won a gold medal in three- day eventing at the 1956 Olympics at Stockholm. They have three daughters, Caroline, Katherine and Diana. Achievements: has trained over 2,000 winners, including 18 at the Cheltenham Festival. Major Wins include: Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase (2002 Flagship Uberalles), Stan James Champion Hurdle (2003 Rooster Booster), Racing Post Arkle Chase (2011 Captain Chris).

Crabbie’s Grand National record: 1990 Gallic Prince (13th); Joint Sovereignty (Fell 19th); 1995 Gold Cap (13th); 1998 Samlee (3rd); Greenhill Tare Away (UR 27th); 1999 Samlee (10th); Bells Life (PU 26th); Mudahim (UR 6th); 2000 Village King (Fell 20th); Stormy Passage (Fell 22nd); 2001 Village King (Fell 8th); 2002 What's Up Boys (2nd); 2004 What's Up Boys (BD 6th); 2005 Double Honour (UR 21st); 2007 Zabenz (PU bef 7th), Monkerhostin (Ref 7th); 2009 Zabenz (Fell 16th), Parsons Legacy (Fell 22nd); 2010 Dream Alliance (PU 24th); 2011 Quinz (PU 16th); 2012 Planet Of Sound (12th); 2013 Balthazar King (15th); 2014 Balthazar King (2nd), Chance Du Roy (6th)

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