Grumeti (left): last ran over hurdles at Aintree last AprilPICTURE: Mark Cranham (racingpost.com/photos)
Kingwell not Betfair the likely race for Grumeti
ALAN KING has all but ruled out Saturday's Betfair Hurdle for Grumeti with the trainer prepared to wait a week longer and bring back his Stan James Champion Hurdle contender in the Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton instead.
Owned by Max McNeill, Grumeti has been sidelined by injury since finishing second on the Flat at Goodwood in May and is a general 14-1 shot for the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury and 20-1 for the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
The five-year-old had ended the 2011/12 jumps season by finishing third in the JCB Triumph Hurdle and first in the Grade 1 Matalan Anniversary 4-Y-O Hurdle at the Grand National festival before a win and a second in two starts on the Flat.
However, King is reluctant to run Grumeti in the fiercely competitive handicap on his first outing of the season and is looking towards the Grade 2 Kingwell Hurdle, a race the trainer sent Katchit out to win before his Champion Hurdle triumph in 2008.
King is likely to rely on another long-term absentee in the Betfair Hurdle with Manyriverstocross, a Grade 2-winning hurdler, set to line up.
Writing in his column in the Weekender, King said: "I have two entries in the Betfair Hurdle in Grumeti and Manyriverstocross. Although I am not certain, it is more likely that Grumeti will wait and head for the Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton the following week.
"Manyriverstocross has been off the course for 818 days and is ready to make a start. It is an extremely difficult race to make a comeback in but I have very few opportunities in which to start."
Do not miss Alan King's exclusive column - only in Wednesday's Weekender