RACING: Walkon carries King's hopes for Grand National
WALKON will be the sole representative for Barbury Castle trainer Alan King in Saturday's Crabbies Grand National, after Godsmejudge was not declared at the five-day stage today.
Godsmejudge joined the likes of Sunnyhillboy, the 2012 runner-up, Mossey Joe, Roi Du Mee, Bog Warrior, Same Difference, Katenko and Goulanes as one of the eight horses scratched at the confirmation stage.
King told his website: "I have struggled to get Godsmejudge right since December and, though he is gradually getting there, Aintree will come too soon, though we have not given up hope that he might yet come to himself in time to defend his Scottish National crown at Ayr a week later.
"Obviously Walkon is unproven over the trip, but he seemed to enjoy the big fences when second to Triolo d'Alene in the Topham Trophy there last season, and that form looks solid enough after the winner followed up in the Hennessy at Newbury in November. We were also giving him a stone so, hopefully he'll give Wayne (Hutchinson) a good ride around there."
King claimed two winners at Ascot's meeting on Sunday, jockey Hutchinson bringing up his 50th success of the season.
King added: "Wayne brought his 50 up for the season when winning the maiden hurdle on Simply A Legend and went on to top up his celebrations when landing the valuable novice handicap chase on Manyriverstocross.
"Simply Legend has been too free in his races, but the hood has helped him settle, while I held up my hands after Manyriverstocross's victory and conceded that the owner was right and I was wrong.
"I had been adamant that 'Manyrivers' wanted two and a half miles, whereas this success has proved that the owner' view that he was a two-mile chaser was spot on. He is fresh and well and might yet run again this season."