Balthazar King, the runner-up in the 2014 Grand National, has been retired from his racing career.

The Philip Hobbs-trained gelding made a miraculous comeback to the racecourse following a crashing fall in last year’s Grand National — in which he suffered broken ribs and a punctured lung.

During his return run in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in March this year he fell when being ridden by Richard Johnson.

His trainer confirmed he is okay after his latest tip-up but would need more time off to completely recover from his previous injury — prompting the decision to retire the 12-year-old.

“He was fine after his fall at Cheltenham but he still has a slight dip in his rib cage from the injury sustained in the Grand National last year and there is some muscle wastage in that area,” said his trainer Philip.

“It was going to take a lot of physio to put him right again and next year he’s going to be 13 — so the decision was made to end on a good note when he is feeling well in himself.

“He will go back to his owners in Hampshire, where I’m sure he’ll make a great hunter and enjoy himself,” he added of the gelding who has amounted nearly £500,000 in prize-money during his career.

The son of King’s Theatre was a popular racehorse and captured the hearts of racing fans when he spent six weeks in University of Liverpool Equine Hospital recovering from his National fall — he received a multitude of cards and treats from his many fans.


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Bred at Sunnyhill Stud in County Kildare, Ireland the popular gelding has been owned by The Brushmakers syndicate since 2009.

His eight-year career witnessed him triumph in two Cheltenham Festival cross country races and finish second behind Pineau De Re in the Grand National in 2014 under his regular jockey, H&H’s racing columnist Richard Johnson.

Somersby retires after Aintree run

Another well-known racehorse wil be joining Balthazar King in the retirement field, after it was revealed on Channel 4 Racing today (8 April) that Somersby will also retire.

The Mick Channon-trained 12-year-old finished fourth from six during today’s JLT Melling Chase at Aintree. The son of Second Empire has been a consistent horse for both his trainer and his owners, the Radford family.

During his eight-year racing career, the gelding has claimed numerous placing and victories in both Grade One and Grade Two races.