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14 Feb 2011 | 19:15
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King looking to BalderHeadlines
Balder Succes

Alan King has ruled last year's winner Raya Star out of The Ladbroke (Handicap Hurdle) at Ascot on Saturday and will instead rely on Balder Succes.

Raya Star would have had to carry nearly top weight and will instead run in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton on Boxing Day.

Balder Succes, a four-year-old, was a good winner at Haydock last time out and is one of the leading ante-post fancies.

"We were lucky enough to win The Ladbroke last year with Raya Star, but he will wait for the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton this time around, so we will rely on Balder Succes at Ascot," King told www.alankingracing.co.uk.

"He is in good form and will hopefully have a decent chance in what is always a very competitive handicap."

On the same card King will also have a crack at the incredible Big Buck's in the Long Walk Hurdle with Smad Place, who disappointed behind Tidal Bay on his first run of the season.

"Smad Place worked nicely yesterday morning and seems back on track, having been forced to miss Newbury's Hennessy meeting when he was not quite right," he added. "Obviously, Big Buck's will be hard to beat at Ascot, but if Smad Place works well in the week that is where he will go."

King's chaser Walkon is set for a break after his brave effort in defeat in the Paul Stewart IronSpine Charity Challenge Gold Cup at Cheltenham on Saturday.

The grey had previously chased home Al Ferof in the Paddy Power Gold Cup and bumped into another smart rival from the Paul Nicholls yard in the shape of the four-year-old Unioniste.

The trainer added: "Walkon did everything right bar win, and he has just bumped into an improving four-year-old who was receiving 17lb, and, while it is frustrating, he has finished second in two of the toughest handicap chases in the calendar, so I am not complaining. He will have a break now."

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