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Hunt Ball

Hunt Ball: pleased connections when working on Monday morning

  PICTURE: Mark Cranham (  

Hunt Ball spot-on for Paddy Power test

AFTER putting his stable star through his paces on Monday morning, a confident Keiran Burke declared Hunt Ball to be "exactly where we want him" for his seasonal return in Saturday's Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham.

The trainer was delighted with the way Anthony Knott's pride and joy came through his last piece of serious work for Saturday's race, where he will bid for an eighth win on his 14th career start.

"He did a piece of work at Richard Barber's and worked very, very well," said former jockey Burke. "I rode him and we did 15 furlongs - three times up his gallops with a companion. He was very good, as good as gold, and I was very pleased."

The sponsors make Hunt Ball their 11-2 second-favourite for the Grade 3 handicap after a field of 22 were confirmed for the race on Monday, where the most notable absentee was impressive Old Roan Chase winner For Non Stop.

Looking forward to returning to the scene of Hunt Ball's impressive Pulteney Land Investments Novices' Handicap Chase win in March, Burke added: "I couldn't be happier and he is exactly where we want him before the Paddy Power.

"He is fresh and looking really, really well. He will now do light canters the rest of the week and we'll freshen him up for Saturday."

Grands Crus heads Paddy Power's market at 9-4.

A field of 26 have been confirmed for the first running of the Racing Post Hurdle, formerly the Greatwood, at Cheltenham on Sunday.

High-profile owner JP McManus boasts a strong hand with 7-2 market leader Darlan and 7-1 second favourite It's A Gimme.

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