Mark Howard Publications Ltd

Interview with Andrew Balding

22-February-2022 17:15
in General
by Admin

Andrew Balding enjoyed a personal best campaign in 2021 with 150 domestic winners, including two Group 1 victories for top-class filly Alcohol Free. The Kingsclere handler has been a regular in the Talking Trainers section in Ahead On The Flat and I am delighted to include Andrew once again this year. On Tuesday afternoon, I interviewed Andrew and went through the best part of 70/80 horses and it is fair to say there is plenty of strength in depth amongst the team once again. 

On the track, the One Jump Ahead Updates had a productive afternoon on Tuesday with Fleurman (5/4), Petit Tonnerre (4/5) and Thedevilscoachman (4/1) all winning. Fleurman is a horse I followed closely on the Flat last year when trained by Ralph Beckett. A grey gelding by Mastercraftsman, he looked a strong stayer when winning a couple of times at Salisbury over twelve and fourteen furlongs before running creditably in a heritage handicap at York last Autumn. Less than three weeks later, he was sold for 130,000gns at the Newmarket Horses in Training Sale and joined Olly Murphy. Only third on his hurdles bow at Wetherby last month, it was a somewhat underwhelming jumping debut. However, the four year old looked much sharper at Market Rasen and, having raced prominently, stayed on strongly to win by seven and a half lengths. While he holds an entry in the Triumph Hurdle, it is hoped Fleurman is kept to a relatively low level this season because he is a big tall gelding who will improve with age. Long-term, he will be better over further and is the sort who could win a nice prize over obstacles, provided he isn't over tried too soon.

Just another reminder that the Value Racing Club Cheltenham Preview via zoom takes place on Friday 11th March. The evening will be hosted by ITV's number one commentator Richard Hoiles and alongside him will be my Racing TV colleague Gary O'Brien, Betfair Hurdle winning trainer Tom Lacey, jockey Johnny Burke who has enjoyed a best ever season with 52 winners, and yours truly. There will also be guest appearances from VRC trainer's David Pipe and Jamie Snowden. Please head to the website to book your place - it promises to be an enjoyable and informative evening.


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