Horse health concerns for King

Swindon Advertiser: Alan King Alan King

Kumbeshwar was Barbury Castle trainer Alan King’s last runner “for a week or so” with the trainer still unhappy with the health of his string.

Although Tickity Bleue dead-heated on New Year’s Eve and Kumbeshwar was a respectable third in the Fairlawne Handicap Chase at Cheltenham on Wednesday, Barbury Castle has been very quiet after a good start to the season proper.

“We have had only two winners since December 3 and while I have never been more delighted to get a dead-heat than I was at Warwick, the horses are clearly not right, so it is time to stop,” King said. “Some horses have had inflammation in their lungs and we must get to the bottom of the problem.

“It’s a shame as we had made our best start to a season, and the horses were in terrific form in October and November, but a few alarm bells started to ring during Hennessy week and, though, Invictus apart, that was another good weekend, we have had precious little to celebrate since.

King’s Champion Hurdle hope Grumeti was one of the notable disappointments and he said: “Grumeti’s scope on the Monday before the Christmas Hurdle was good, but he ran no sort of race at Kempton. Before Kempton Grumeti was showing all the right signs, so it is very difficult, but we will give him a bit of time now and we could go for something like the Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton in February.”

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