Tag Archive for: Balko Des Flos

National runner-up Balko Des Flos out for remainder of season

Last season’s Grand National runner-up Balko Des Flos has been ruled out for the remainder of the current campaign with injury.

Winner of the 2018 Ryanair Chase when was owned by Gigginstown House Stud, the Henry de Bromhead-trained 11-year-old was purchased by the micro-share syndicate RacehorseClub after unseating in the cross-country chase at Cheltenham in March.

Sent off at 100-1 in the National, he managed to beat all bar stablemate Minella Times and the aim was to return to Aintree in April.

He had run three times this season, once over hurdles and more recently over the cross-country course in November and December, shaping well the first time in fifth when giving all but two stone to those in front of him. But he picked up an injury in December when ninth.

“Balko Des Flos suffered an injury at Cheltenham a few weeks ago which will sadly rule him out for the remainder of the jumps season,” RacehorseClub ambassador Freddy Tylicki said on www.racehorseclub.com.

“It doesn’t look like a career-threatening injury, but it’s enough that he needs some time on the sidelines. He’ll get the best care available and hopefully we’ll see him back on track in the autumn.”

National aces Balko Des Flos and Potters Corner on cross-country duty

Balko Des Flos and Potters Corner are poised to give their owners a real thrill in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase at Cheltenham on Friday.

Former top Flat jockey Freddy Tylicki is a member of the RacehorseClub’s executive team, the micro-share syndicate that owns Grand National runner-up Balko Des Flos, trained by Henry de Bromhead, and co-owns Potters Corner, winner of the Welsh Grand National in 2019 for trainer Christian Williams.

He reports the pair to have come on plenty for their recent seasonal reappearances.

“They are two very good horses. Potters Corner was third in this race 12 months ago. That was a good performance and was his only run at Cheltenham before. Jack Tudor gets on with him really well and the horse is in good form. He needed his reappearance run, as did Balko. Both have come on for their runs massively,” said Tylicki.

“Henry is very pleased with Balko. Rachael (Blackmore) schooled him the other morning.

“It’s going to be exciting for all the members to go there with two horses in the one race. It’s three-miles-six, there’s going to be plenty of hustle and bustle and everyone is looking forward to it.”

Tylicki believes both horses are ready for the challenge.

“Balko loves the chasing and the ups and downs. He’s the type of horse that suits this race down to the ground. He loves going round there. The slower the ground the better really for them,” he went on.

“This is their proper first test of the year. Potters Corner will try to win the Welsh National again later on in December, with a bit of luck, but it’s all guns blazing for this race.

Potters Corner won the Welsh Grand National in 2019
Potters Corner won the Welsh Grand National in 2019 (David Davies/PA)

“Balko was second in the Grand National. That run was amazing – the first runner for the RacehorseClub and to finish second in the National. It was unbelievable.”

De Bromhead, whose Minella Times foiled Balko Des Flos in the world’s greatest steeplechase, said: “I think we may just stick to cross-country races with him through the season, but the Becher Chase at Aintree is in the back of my mind.

“He had the class for the Grand National and Rachael came in fuming at Cheltenham (after being unseated in the championship event at the Festival in March) as he was flying and loving it, so there was always a good chance that he would take to it.

“With any of them it’s so unpredictable and you just don’t know until you go and thankfully with him he delivered.”

Singing Banjo, trained by Philip Rothwell, won twice over the banks course at Punchestown in the spring and went on to complete a hat-trick at Wexford in June. However, he runs from 13lb out of the handicap due to the presence of Balko Des Flos.

Singing Banjo (right) in action at Punchestown
Singing Banjo (right) in action at Punchestown (Brian Lawless/PA)

“He’s in great form, He’s travelled over really well. We’re very happy with him, he’ll love the good ground,” said the County Wicklow handler.

“It’s a pity Henry is running the top horse because if he didn’t everything would have gone up a stone bar us. He’d have been in the handicap, nearly a stone better off, but that’s the way it is.

“Barry (Walsh), who rides him, his parents own him and they are getting great fun so hopefully he’ll run a nice race. He’ll take to it, no problem. His jumping is very good. He has done lots of it. That’s not an issue.”

Freewheelin Dylan caused a mighty upset at odds of 150-1 in the Irish Grand National and trainer Dermot McLoughlin expects the nine-year-old to relish this jumping test.

“He seems in good form. He’s jumping well and that’s his forte. He loves jumping so we’re hoping for a good run,” said the County Meath handler.

“I think he’ll take to it. This has been the plan, for him to have a change of scenery and just the whole new experience. We’re hoping for the best.”

Martin Keighley has taken his two runners, Talkischeap and Back On The Lash, to Cheltenham twice to get a taste of the cross-country track.

Keighley enjoyed great success with Any Currency in these races and feels his pair can make their mark.

Talkischeap, winner of the bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown in 2019, is having his first run for the Condicote handler since his move from Alan King’s stable.

Back On The Lash tries the cross-country course for the first time at Cheltenham
Back On The Lash tries the cross-country course for the first time at Cheltenham (Tim Goode/PA)

Back On The Lash, a seven-year-old, tries this discipline after winning three times over conventional fences.

“They both went schooling there last week. All went very well, they jumped fantastic, and we took them again on Tuesday and they schooled really nicely,” he said.

“If they take it to they are two really nice horses, who could do well in those sort of races.

“It worked with Any Currency. Talkischeap won that big race at Sandown and ran in the National as well. He stays very well if he takes to it it could be ideal for him.

“Back On The Lash jumped super round there but he needs to prove he stays three miles six (furlongs) yet. That is the question mark against him.

“I think he will do, but he hasn’t run over that kind of trip before.”

Brave runner-up Balko delights Coleman in National

Aidan Coleman was full of praise for runner-up Balko Des Flos – who massively outran his 100-1 odds at Aintree to give his stablemate Minella Times most to do in the Randox Grand National.

The 2018 Ryanair winner had been in the doldrums for a couple of seasons but showed signs the fire still burned bright before unseating Rachael Blackmore in the Cross Country at Cheltenham last month.

Coleman said: “I couldn’t be happier with him. He was super. He jumped brilliantly and travelled into it really well. He did everything right but just didn’t win. All credit to him.”

If there was an unlucky horse in the race it was Ted Walsh’s Any Second Now – who performed a minor miracle to get into third, having been brought almost to a standstill by a faller.

Jockey Mark Walsh said: “He was very unlucky, he very nearly got brought down at the third last and he’s done great to finish third.”

Patrick Mullins enjoyed a great ride on fourth-placed Burrows Saint, whose stamina appeared to give way after the last.

“I had a fantastic spin, and he did everything right,” said Mullins.

“We got a lovely position, and he jumped fantastic.

“I was chatting to Rachael (Blackmore) going past the stands with a circuit to go, and we were both very happy with where we were.

“We were side by side all of the way, and I was trying to get on to her boot and get a lead off her – but from the second-last, I just couldn’t go with her. He got very tired and maybe he didn’t stay, but it was nearly the perfect ride.”

Burrows Saint (left) raced alongside winner Minella Times for much of the race but eventually finished fourth
Burrows Saint (left) raced alongside winner Minella Times for much of the race but eventually finished fourth (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Farclas, who finished fifth, did best of Irish trainer Denise Foster’s four runners.

Her representative Lisa O’Neill said: : “Farclas jumped and travelled really well, and (jockey) Jack (Kennedy) seemed happy with him. You need a lot of luck in a race like this, so he ran a solid race.”

The yard’s other three runners were Shattered Love (10th), Alpha Des Obeaux (11th) and Milan Native – who pulled up.

O’Neill said: “It was a bit of an unknown for Shattered Love, and we didn’t know what would happen with her, but she is a class filly. She ran OK.

“Alpha Des Obeaux ran his race but was not good enough.

“(Jockey) Jamie (Codd) said Milan Native was unsure about the fences and frightened himself a small bit.”

Cloth Cap, the 11-2 favourite, was pulled up three fences from the finish when losing touch after being in contention for most of the race.

Favourite Cloth Cap was eventually pulled up in the Randox Grand National
Favourite Cloth Cap was eventually pulled up in the Randox Grand National (David Davies/Jockey Club)

Trainer Jonjo O’Neill will have the nine-year-old’s wind checked out.

“(Jockey) Tom (Scudamore) said he was going away grand and he just started gurgling a little bit – and he did the right thing and pulled him up,” said the Jackdaws Castle handler.

“He was having a great run, and everything was going grand … then he stopped.

“We will get him checked out, but we will look at his wind. Tom just said he got slower and slower, but he did the right thing.”

New owners targeting high-profile start with National duo

A new racing club is seeking a dream start with two runners in the Randox Grand National on Saturday week.

RacehorseClub offers micro-shares to its members – with the aim of attracting a new audience to the industry – and as two of their three purchases are due to run at Aintree, they could exceed all expectations.

The Christian Williams-trained Potters Corner, winner of the Welsh National in 2019, and Balko Des Flos, a former winner of the Ryanair Chase, will be sporting the club’s distinctive multi-coloured silks.

RacehorseClub is the brainchild of Max Pimlott, who works for the International Racing Bureau and said: “The whole idea is to get more people involved in horseracing and give them a toe in the water of what racehorse ownership is all about.

Christian Williams (left) stands with Potters Corner and Ed Chamberlin, an ambassador of the club
Christian Williams (left) stands with Potters Corner and Ed Chamberlin, an ambassador of the club (Nigel Kirby)

“We wanted to focus on the quality of horses. Obviously there are lots of other good syndicates out there, but we wanted to take it to another level to give the opportunity to as many people as we can to be part of a top-class racehorse.

“The first three horses include a Welsh National winner, a Royal Ascot winner (The Lir Jet) and a Cheltenham Festival winner, and we’ll also be going to the Craven breeze-ups.

“Potters Corner costs £75 for 0.002 per cent share. We’ve bought a percentage of him from All Stars Racing, who have owned him from the start along with Jonathan Davies, who won the Six Nations with Wales.

“Only a small part of that fee is for the actual horse – the rest comprises the membership, a welcome pack which includes plenty of goodies, but also you get the whole experience of trainer videos etc.

“Looking forward, we envisage having huge hospitality tents at Cheltenham, for example, so our members get a day on us at Cheltenham – that’s the vision we have going forward.

Potters Corner sporting his new rug
Potters Corner sporting his new rug (Nigel Kirby)

“Also we want to give a bit back. We’re in partnerships with the Injured Jockeys’ Fund, Racing Welfare, Retraining of Racehorses and Racing For School.”

Balko Des Flos has been priced at £80 per share, while the Michael Bell-trained The Lir Jet, who ran at the Breeders’ Cup last year, is £84.

Williams is pleased with how the last couple of weeks have gone for Potters Corner, given he was forced to miss Cheltenham with an overreach.

“Nothing phases him. If he wasn’t quiet at home, we’d be worrying. He seems in good form and has been a great horse for the yard,” he said.

“He had a little knock, an overreach, which can be nasty sometimes, and there was a bit of bruising – that’s the reason he missed Cheltenham – and he obviously would have bumped into a prime Tiger Roll that day, so perhaps it wasn’t a bad thing. It’s only a short time to Aintree, so we’re trying to look at it as a positive.

“The horses are flying, the yard’s flying, Jack’s (Tudor) riding plenty of winners, so we’re confident going there.”

He added: “RacehorseClub is a brilliant idea – it’s great for racing fans and fans outside of racing to get involved at a small price in one of the biggest sporting events of the year.

“It makes everything affordable. It doesn’t matter what share you own, if you’re sat at home and you can cheer your horse on, jumping up and down in the lounge, you don’t get a feeling like it.

“It would be great if Potters turns in and is going well in the Grand National.”

Balko Des Flos unseated Rachael Blackmore in the Glenfarclas Chase at Cheltenham, but trainer Henry de Bromhead retains plenty of faith.

He said: “Balko Des Flos is in great form, and his Grand National prep is going as planned.

Rachael Blackmore aboard Balko Des Flos at Cheltenham
Rachael Blackmore aboard Balko Des Flos at Cheltenham (David Davies/PA)

“He schooled this morning – we fixed our fences to replicate Aintree a bit. He was going really well at Cheltenham until he unseated Rachael at the wedges, but she said he was really enjoying it.

“I’m not sure who will ride him yet – because if Minella Times runs, Rachael might ride him. We also have Aidan Coleman, so he might ride what Rachael doesn’t.”

On the RacehorseClub, he added: “We have plenty of syndicates in the yard, including the Champion Chase winner Put The Kettle On among others.

“I think it’s a great idea – a one-off fee – it’s fantastic value for what you are getting.

“I am delighted to be working with such an exciting new venture, which offers such a great opportunity.”

Michael Bell, trainer of The Lir Jet, said: “I’m sure it will be a great success. The Lir Jet was one of last year’s top two-year-olds and looks an exciting prospect for this year.

“All being well, we will start him off in the Free Handicap at Newmarket’s Craven Meeting in a couple of weeks’ time – and then plans for the rest of the season will unfold thereafter.”