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HORSE RACING: Can Licht earn King a Cheltenham bonus?
6:00am Saturday 12th January 2013 in Sport
TRAINER Alan King has one eye on scooping a lucrative bonus for winning at the Cheltenham Festival with Salden Licht following his victory at Plumpton on Sunday.
Having shown smart form over hurdles last season, the nine-year-old built on last month’s promising chasing debut second at Hereford by scoring decisively at the second attempt.
Salden Licht landed one of four qualifying novice chases at Plumpton which means if he does go on to Cheltenham Festival glory this term, he will scoop a further £60,000 as part of an initiative sponsored by broadcasters SIS.
The last horse to pick up the bonus was King’s Voy Por Ustedes, who was successful at Plumpton before winning the 2006 Arkle Trophy.
“I was delighted with him at Plumpton. I thought he had come on for his first run and that’s the way it looked,” said the Barbury Castle handler.
“Hopefully he can keep progressing and it is nice that we now have the option of going for the Cheltenham bonus.
“He would definitely have another run before then anyway and then we’ll see about what race he could run in at Cheltenham.
“I’d imagine he’ll have a few entries.”
King’s Raya Star is set to turn out for the StanJames.com Champion Hurdle Trial at Haydock on Saturday week.
The seven-year-old has taken his game to another level this term, winning a valuable Ascot handicap, chasing home Oscar Whisky in the Coral Hurdle and finishing second behind Darlan in the Christmas Hurdle.
Connections can rightly look forward to a tilt at the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham in March, but are likely to know far more after running him at Haydock.
“Raya Star has had a break since Christmas and seems in good form with himself,” said King.
“At the moment we are looking at running him in the Champion Hurdle Trial at Haydock on Saturday week.
“That is probably where he’ll go.”