Knott eyes Gold run

  • Last Updated: December 10 2012, 16:58 GMT

Anthony Knott is keen to let Hunt Ball take his chance in Saturday's Paul Stewart IronSpine Charity Challenge Gold Cup at Cheltenham.

Hunt Ball: An intended runner this weekend

Hunt Ball is one of 23 horses to have stood their ground for the valuable handicap and the Keiran Burke-trained chaser was one of the most improved horses in training last season but was pulled up on his reappearance in the Paddy Power Gold Cup.

Hunt Ball's owner Anthony Knott explained the intention was for the horse to run at the weekend before the King George VI Chase at Christmas, although ground conditions could be against his horse once more.

"It looks as if the going will be soft or heavy and that's really no good for us but he needs a blow-out and I'd like to support Andy Stewart's charity initiative so we're probably going to run. If he gets into the frame I'll be well pleased," said Knott.

"The King George is the race I really want to win and hopefully the ground will be better there. When he gets back on to better ground you'll see the real Hunt Ball.

"I've got egg on my face at the moment but this fellow is good. Kieran said the other day that he was blowing him off his back. We just need the going and you will see again what he did at Cheltenham last season. I can't believe he's 33-1 - that's a retirement job."

Former smart novice chaser Cristal Bonus, one of three Paul Nicholls trained entries, landed a Grade Two at Down Royal by nine lengths last month.

He could be joined by stablemates Ghizao and Unioniste while trainers' title rival Nicky Henderson could be double-handed through last year's winner Quantitativeeasing and Nadiya De La Vega, who was third to Al Ferof in the Paddy Power.

Wishfull Thinking heads the weights from his Philip Hobbs-trained stablemate Menorah, who beat Cristal Bonus in a Grade One at Aintree's Grand National meeting.

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