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HORSE RACING: King's stars ruled out for season
6:00am Thursday 20th September 2012 in Sport
ALAN King has revealed stable stars Invictus and Batonnier will miss the whole National Hunt season due to injury.
Invictus won three of his four starts during his novice campaign over fences, completing the hat-trick with an impressive defeat of Bobs Worth in the Reynoldstown Chase at Ascot in February.
However, a setback ruled him out of a trip to the Cheltenham Festival and as he has failed to fully recover, he will also miss the upcoming campaign.
Batonnier has not been seen since winning a Grade Two novice hurdle at Cheltenham in late January and he too will need further time on the sidelines.
Speaking on his website www.alankingracing.co.uk, the trainer said: "Invictus picked up an injury when being prepared for the RSA Chase at the last Cheltenham Festival and, though he is making steady progress, he will be out for the whole of this jumps season, as will Batonnier.
"They are two of the stable's big guns so it is disappointing, but these are the hazards of NH racing, and the good thing is that both horses will still only be seven when they return."
Cristoforo Colombo is among 13 confirmations for the Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury on Saturday.
The Aidan O'Brien-trained colt was a late withdrawal from the Vincent O'Brien Stakes won by Dawn Approach at the Curragh on Saturday.
Third to Dawn Approach in the Coventry at Royal Ascot, he was last seen coming down in the Railway Stakes after clipping heels.
One place behind Cristoforo Colombo at the Royal meeting was the Richard Hannon-trained Sir Prancealot, who returned to winning ways in the Flying Childers at Doncaster on Friday.
He is not a certain starter, however, and Hannon told his website: "The Middle Park looks the race for Sir Prancealot, but he has come out of the Flying Childers in such great form that we have left him in Saturday's Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury, in which we also have Master Of War.
"I will talk to Andrew Tinkler (owner) and decide whether to go to Newbury or wait for Newmarket on October 13."
Gimcrack runner-up Heavy Metal, who beat Master Of War at Goodwood, has been left in by Mark Johnston, and John Gosden has an interesting contender in once-raced Yarmouth maiden winner Taayel.
Mick Channon's Cay Verde, third in the Gimcrack, was a Group Three winner in France last time out, while Marco Botti's Moohaajim, not beaten far in fifth behind Reckless Abandon in the Prix Morny, is another to stand his ground.
Michael Bell can call on Kimberella but said: "Kimberella's been left in, but we could do with a drop of rain for him."
Further Irish interest comes in the shape of Cougar Ridge (David Wachman) and Wexford Opera (Jim Bolger).