A deluge could not put the dampeners on the celebrations in the Philip Hobbs camp after Balthazar King made most of the running to land the Showcase Trophy Chase at Cheltenham for the third successive year.
Sent off the 7-2 favourite following his cross-country victory at Craon last month, the nine-year-old galloped his 15 rivals into the ground to win the �23,750 first prize and take his winning tally at Cheltenham to five, earning his ninth chase victory in the process.
The crowd favourite stole a march coming down the hill under Richard Johnson and drew further clear the further they went. He had seven lengths to spare over Tour Des Champs, who battled back to take second near the line.
The Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase at the Open meeting is next on the agenda for Balthazar King.
Hobbs said: “We don’t really care what the handicapper does now, we’ll come back for the cross country race here at the next meeting. To win this race three years in a row is phenomenal. He’s just a very good horse.
“He didn’t jump well in the Grand National or the bet365 Gold Cup, but hopefully he can win the cross country, a race in which he was second last year.”
There was a thrilling finish to the Go Racing With McPhersonracing.co.uk Handicap Hurdle with Thomas Crapper (12-1) just getting the better of the favourite Silver Eagle and Princely Player.
After helping the Robin Dickin-trained six-year-old to his third career success, winning rider Charlie Poste said: “I wanted to take my time with him but hit the front sooner than I hoped as I did not want to disappoint him coming down the hill.
“He toughed it out up the hill and while we were thinking about going chasing with him, we’ll probably stick to hurdling after this.”Read the rest of the story British Horseracing Authority News Headlines