News broke last night on social networks of an injury to Wilde Blue Yonder which will see him miss the coming jumps season. It’s a huge blow for the popular ‘Maybe Only Fools Have Horses’ syndicate.
Alan King’s talented young hurdler, fifth behind Vautour in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle back in March, has sustained a tendon injury.
The horse has certainly endured his fair share of misfortune to date. At Newbury
in December he came down at the last when holding every chance, and lightning struck twice when sure to win at Ascot in February. After Cheltenham he was stepped up in trip for Aintree. Right there at the final flight in the Mersey Novices’ Hurdle, the trainer believes the effects of a long season saw him held in fourth at the finish.
His handicap mark looked favourable going into the winter and it is hoped that he returns in rude health in a year’s time.
Such injuries are not uncommon, but King in particular must be cursing his misfortune. His Montbazon suffered a similar injury after finishing fourth in the Supreme of 2012. He returned this spring and ran a terrific race in the Vincent O’Brien County Hurdle in March. Such a return will no doubt give hope to the Wilde Blue Yonder entourage.
As excitement builds for all jump racing fans, it is also a period of great tension for those involved in the sport. Trainers will be stepping up the intensity of the work for their stable stars, and any slight frailty is likely to be unearthed.
Simonsig was a high profile omission from last winter’s campaign. The Arkle winner is thankfully now back to full fitness, and set to return with the King George a likely target. Stablemate, and top rated chaser Sprinter Sacre, also hit the treatment bench. He too is on the comeback trail and set to clash with Sire De Grugy in December’s Tingle Creek.
For many, this weekend’s meeting at Chepstow heralds the start of the National Hunt season. Let’s hope that jump racing’s equine elite are fit and able to ‘strut their stuff’ over the thrilling months that lie ahead.