Hunt Ball Winner

Anthony Knott (celebrating on Hunt Ball): won £500,000 at Cheltenham

  PICTURE: Matthew Webb  

Knott eyes Aintree or Cheltenham options

HUNT BALL, who last week continued his amazing rise with a stunning eight-length success in the Pulteney Land Investments Novices' Handicap Chase atthe festival, could go back to Cheltenham for the Silver Trophy next month, his owner Anthony Knott said on Sunday.

However, Knott and trainer Keiran Burke will also conder stepping up in trip and class in the Grade 1 Betfred Bowl at Aintree.

The difference in prize-money is not a serious factor, according to Knott as he pointed out that he always backs Hunt Ball and said that he won morethan £500,000 following his victory at Cheltenham last week.

"I wouldn't be worried by the step up in trip as I think that would bring major imporvement," Knott said on At The Races.

"Aintree or a race back at Cheltenham will be discussed, but wherever he goes, lump on!"

Burke also ran Holmwood Legend and Fortification at the festival, and the trainer said of Holmwood Legend, who finished a highly creditable sixth when bidding for back-to-back Plate successes: "I was over the moon with him, he ran a blinder.

"He had not been himself this season, but came right at Cheltenham. I was very pleased with him and also the ride he was given [by Steven Clements]."

Fortification was pulled up in the Cross Country Chaseand Burke said simply that running the "quirky sort" in that unique race did not work out.

As sporting sights go, few match the sheer excitement of 40 horses thundering towards the first fence at Aintree for the John Smith's Grand National.

A race steeped in history that always provides a story, the Grand National is the ultimate test of endurance and skill for both horse and jockey, as the pairing must navigate 30 treacherous fences, and then still have enough stamina to make a challenge on the run-in.

To manage a clear round in the 4m4f epic is no mean achievement, with the fences notoriously difficult and offering unique challenges.

Over the years, there have been countless memorable moments, Devon Loch's phantom leap in the 1956 contest, Foinavon's shock 100-1 win in 1967 and the brilliance of Red Rum, who took the chase on three occasions in 1973, 74 and 77.

In 1981 Aldaniti and Bob Champion completed a heartwarming tale when winning the race, as Aldaniti had recovered from a career-threatening injury while jockey Champion had battled back from cancer.

In 2011 the race provided another fairytale story as Donald McCain emulated his father and Aintree legend Ginger when winning with Ballabriggs - and that came just a year after champion jockey Tony McCoy finally gained victory in the race at the 15th time of asking.