Balthazar King to be crowned at Aintree

Getting ready for the Grand National
Getting ready for the Grand National
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DONCASTER’S William Hill Lincoln provided a thrilling finish with Levitate, making his stable debut for John Quinn, coming out on top in a four way battle.

And the first four horses home were all trained in Yorkshire, writes Mark Ormondroyd.

Racing resumes at Doncaster on April 13 (Bet365 raceday) with seven races scheduled from 13:50.

Doncaster Racecourse is also an exhibition centre providing events to a wider audience than the racing world. Tonight, they are hosting a “Night of Champions” to define the Champion of Champions of professional darts players.

Players included to participate within the event include; I’m A Celebrity Star Eric Bristow, and local darts legend Dennis Priestley of Mexborough.

Attention within racing this week turns to Aintree, for the John Smith’s Grand National.

First run in 1839, this year’s event will be significant with the race being reduced from 4m 4f to 4m 3½f to hopefully reduce injuries and fatalities - four horses have been fatally injured in the past two years.

Ireland haven’t won the event since 33/1 shot Silver Birch’s triumph in 2007 but have strong contenders this year, most notably On His Own and Seabass. Seabass will be a popular choice for many this weekend, because of the father-daughter combination of Ted and Katie Walsh, who last year finished third.

Also lining up again is Sunnyhillboy, who lost last year’s National by a nose to the Paul Nicholls trained Neptune Collonges.

Teaforthree is Wales’ main contender in the race and hoping to be the first Welsh trained winner since Kirkland, 108 years ago.

Teaforthree was a ½ length second in the Welsh equivalent with champion jockey AP McCoy aboard, so stamina should be of no issue.

2010 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Imperial Commander and 2011 John Smith’s Grand National winner Ballabriggs are the most noteworthy of the English contenders, while Mr Moonshine, Auroras Encore and Poker De Sivola are the only Yorkshire trained horses entered for the race and will be available at large odds.

Balthazar King has been running competitively in marathon trips this season and has beaten some tough reliable horses in the past. Providing he jumps well, the gelding could run a big race.

Big Fella Thanks has competed and completed all three attempts of the world famous steeplechase but isn’t getting any younger at 11 years of age.

A good relaxed jumper with stamina and a possible extra gear for after the final fence are qualities that are required to win the National.

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