More than hope with Walkon
Alan King has insisted that Walkon doesn't need to be fresh to run to his best ahead of the Paul Stewart Ironspine Charity Challenge Gold Cup at Cheltenham on Saturday.
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The seven year old has gone well on his seasonal reappearance throughout his career, including when second in the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Prestbury Park last month.
In the last couple of seasons, however, his form has tailed off after a promising first run, but his Wiltshire handler says that he isn't concerned ahead of Saturday's big race.
"In the past we have tended to side with the theory he is better when fresh, but when he first came to us he ran four times in two months, winning three," he wrote in his Weekender column.
"He then finished second in the Triumph Hurdle only to win the Aintree equivalent three weeks' later.
"Subsequently he had injuries to deal with so we have never really got a clean run with him. He proved that when sound it doesn't matter if there are two weeks or six months between his races.
"There will be many who will say he needs to be fresh, but having looked at his juvenile form carefully you can see that's not necessarily the case."
Walkon finished second to Al Ferof in the Paddy Power Gold Cup on his seasonal reappearance and on that form he's arguably the horse to beat this weekend.
King continued: "The handicapper raised him 5lb for his Paddy Power run which was fair enough as it was 12 lengths back to the third with the remainder of those finished much further adrift.
"On that run he has to be the one they are all gunning for and he has pleased me since his last run.
"He had a breeze on Saturday morning, but in truth we haven't done too much with him as he is fit and well and we don't want to over do things."
Walkon is a 5/1 chance for Saturday's race with Sky Bet.