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Walkon - Aintree 02.04.09

Walkon has not raced since winning an Aintree Grade 1 hurdle in April 2009

  PICTURE: Mark Cranham  

Long-absent Walkon being prepared for return

WALKON, a dual Grade 1 winner who has not raced since April 2009, could make his return from injury at Haydock a week on Saturday en route to a potential crack at next month's Totesport Trophy.

The Alan King-trained six-year-old has not been seen on a racecourse since winning a Grade 1 novice hurdle at Aintree's 2009 Grand National meeting, but is being prepared for his comeback.

Iain Turner, racing manager to Walkon's owner Max McNeill, said on Wednesday: "He'll go to Haydock for the Champion Hurdle Trial. We'll have to take on Peddlers Cross and Soldatino, but so be it.

"He'll come on for it and then we'll see."

Always held in high regard by King, Walkon was beaten twice by Zaynar, including in the 2009 Triumph Hurdle, but won his four other starts since switching from the Flat. On Wednesday he featured among 56 horses entered for the Totesport Trophy on February 12, with the open nature of the race reflected in the sponsor's betting.

Walkon is a 16-1 chance for the contest, with four runners - Final Approach, Salden Licht, Soldatino and Tocca Ferro - leading the ante-post market at 12-1.

Totesport spokesman George Primarolo said: "It looks another devilishly competitive renewal of the Totesport Trophy and we can't split four of them at the head of the market, although Salden Licht looks sure to be popular after going in many a notebook after winning at Exeter recently."

Also entered for the valuable 2m½f handicap hurdle was 2008 Triumph hero Celestial Halo, a 25-1 chance, and last year's winner Get Me Out Of Here, who is 14-1.

Overturn, who could prove himself a Grade 1 performer inSaturday's Christmas Hurdle at Kempton, is also engaged.

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