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By Simon Jackson, London24’s horse racing correspondent
Thursday, November 15, 2012
Horse Talk: Top horse-racing tips and the latest news
Somerset trainer Keiran Burke is confident of a big run from 11-2 shot Hunt Ball in the £160,000 Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham (2.35pm) on Saturday.
The seven-year-old and his passionate owner Anthony Knott burst into the limelight during his 2011-12 campaign with seven victories in a string of weight defying performances that saw the gelding flout a rise of 88lbs in the weights, while crowning a remarkable season with victory at the Cheltenham Festival.
“He is as good as gold. We have got him as fit as he can be. But whatever he does on Saturday, he will improve on,” Burke told London24 at the Hunt Ball Raceday at Fontwell Park.
“We got him back in July and have brought him along steadily. I am confident for Saturday, but it is a big race and I wish that I was as confident as the owner is.
“I have been very lucky [with Hunt Ball’s great form last season] to be honest. I was lucky that he came to my yard – but we do everything different.
“We don’t have an all-weather gallop and when we want to do anything different we have to put him in a box and take him to the beach or somewhere else to work. I think it suits him and I don’t think he would be suited by a big yard.
“The Paddy Power is obviously his first target. Next the King George with possibly something in between. Then the Gold Cup or the Ryanair Chase.”
Hunt Ball is currently available at 20-1 for the King George and for the Gold Cup with Paddy Power.