ALAN King will consider a trip to the Punchestown Festival for Balder Succes after the talented youngster came of age with a maiden Grade One victory in the Doom Bar Maghull Novices' Chase at Aintree on Saturday.
The master of Barbury Castle endured a difficult first half of the campaign due a stable virus, which eventually forced him to shut up shop for a short period, but the arrival of spring has brought about a change of fortunes for the Scottish-born trainer.
Success of the Cheltenham Festival thrust him back into the spotlight and having already struck at Aintree's showpiece meeting with Uxizandre and Avispa, Balder Succes was 7-2 for his top-level assignment.
Winner of the Kingmaker Novices' Chase at Warwick and the Pendil Novices' Chase at Kempton, Balder Succes bypassed last month's showpiece meeting at Prestbury Park to ensure he was primed for his trip to Liverpool.
With Next Sensation predictably setting a strong gallop from the outset, Balder Succes was waited with in the hands of Wayne Hutchinson before looming up ominously in the straight.
The 7-2 chance moved stylishly to the lead on the run to the final fence and a spring-heeled leap sealed victory, beating Simply Ned by four lengths.
King said: "He was good.
"He needed one at the last and got it, his jumping was great all the way round.
"It's paid off not going to Cheltenham with him, he was fresh and well - I'm delighted.
"He could go Punchestown. He gets two and a half miles, but I think he's better over two.
"Fences have made a man of him and if he does go anywhere else (before the end of the season) it will be Punchestown."
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