Balthazar King recovering after breaking ribs in Grand National fall

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  • Grand National runner Balthazar King is recovering in equine hospital after a heavy fall in the race yesterday (11 April).

    The horse has broken ribs, but jockey Richard Johnson told H&H today (Sunday 12 April) that Balthazar King has come through the night fine.

    “I spoke to Philip [Hobbs, trainer] this morning and it looks like he’s broken three or four ribs,” said Richard.

    “It’s like with humans, you have to just allow them to mend, although it’s hard with a horse explaining that he needs to stand still.

    “He has a fantastic attitude though so fingers crossed he’ll be back soon. He’s still in hospital up in Liverpool, and Philip is speaking with the vets.”

    Richard, who suffered bruising in the fall, said the pair are both “a bit sore today”.

    “I’m just a bit battered and bruised but nothing too serious,” he added.

    Balthazar King, who finished second in the race last year, was sent off at 17-2 in the 2015 running.

    The 11-year-old had been saved for the race, bypassing the Cheltenham Festival, with connections hopeful for a good run.

    However, pair came down at the Canal Turn. The horse was treated on the course for almost an hour and then taken to the University of Liverpool’s equine hospital, Leahurst.

    “He just took off too early,” added Richard.

    “He’s always been very bold and brave at jumping, maybe he was a little too bold yesterday. It was a nasty fall but then Ballycasey bowled into him too, so it’s hard to know what caused the injury. He got up relatively quickly though.”

    Ruby Walsh, who had been riding Ballycasey, stepped in to divert the runners around the fence for the second circuit, allowing more time for Balthazar King to be treated.

    No other horses were injured in the race.

    The 2015 Crabbie’s Grand National was won by Many Clouds, who provided Leighton Aspell with his second consecutive win in the Aintree showpiece — the first jockey to win back-to-back races on different horses in 61 years. He won last year aboard Dr Richard Newland’s Pineau De Re.

    For H&H’s full Grand National report, plus more exclusive comments from H&H columnist Richard Johnson, don’t miss the next issue of H&H — out Thursday 16 April.

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