Hunt Ball has Power aim
Hunt Ball is likely to make his seasonal return in the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham on November 17.
The seven-year-old was one of the stars of the National Hunt last season as he went from winning a novice handicap chase to finishing third in the Betfair Bowl at Aintree.
Keiran Burke’s stable star went on an unbeaten run of seven races with his final win coming in the Listed Pulteney Land Investments Novices’ Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, less than a month before he finished behind Follow The Plan at the Grand National meeting.
His win at Cheltenham was over the same course and distance as the Paddy Power Gold Cup and Burke is targeting a return to Prestbury Park for his gelding.
“I am very happy with Hunt Ball. He has come back from the summer bigger and stronger and he looks better than ever,” Burke reported.
“I’m pretty sure there is more improvement to come and he will start this season in the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham. I think he probably wants to go further than that but the Paddy Power Gold Cup will suit him and then after that we will look at all the big races.”
Just over a year after winning a novice handicap chase at Folkestone, off a mark of 69, Hunt Ball could find himself up against the best stayers in training with the King George VI Chase his mid-season target.
“He will go for the King George at Kempton and then the owner has got a lot of money on him for the Gold Cup, so he will probably go there or the Ryanair, but I’m not sure what he will do in between,” the trainer added.
“I think he can win the Paddy Power Gold Cup off his mark but he is not the easiest horse to get fit as he is big horse.
“He will take a fair bit of work and we will give him a few racecourse gallops beforehand and try and get him as fit as we can.”