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Alan King: Career profile

Alan King has more than 1.300 jumps winners to his name - including 15 at the Festival
Alan King has more than 1.300 jumps winners to his name - including 15 at the Festival
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Alan King is the subject for Russell Smith's latest profile of the leading National Hunt trainers in the UK and Ireland...

"The 49-year-old's roll of honour already includes a Ladbrokes World Hurdle with My Way De Solzen in 2006, a Queen Mother Champion Chase with Voy Por Ustedes a year later and a Champion Hurdle with Katchit in 2008."

With the stellar season he has been enjoying, the Cheltenham Festival can hardly come quick enough for Alan King.

Annacotty really set the ball rolling for the Wiltshire-based trainer by winning the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Prestbury Park in November, before Smad Place closed out the month by capturing the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury under Wayne Hutchinson.

Even better was to come two weeks ago as King landed three consecutive Graded races at Cheltenham with Annacotty, Smad Place and Yanworth, while Ziga Boy added the Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster.

It formed part of a fantastic five-timer, with McCabe Creek also scoring on Town Moor, and ensured the celebrations at his Barbury Castle Stables, near Wroughton, went on long into the night.

Now King is looking forward to his Cheltenham heroes returning to Prestbury Park as he bids to add to his tally of 15 Festival winners.

The 49-year-old's roll of honour already includes a Ladbrokes World Hurdle with My Way De Solzen in 2006, a Queen Mother Champion Chase with Voy Por Ustedes a year later and a Champion Hurdle with Katchit in 2008.

Just missing from his CV of the big four championship races is the Gold Cup - and hopes will be high that the 12/1 chance Smad Place can complete the set.

He also has a hotpot in Yanworth, who is now a best-priced [2.2] favourite with Betfair for the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle.

Born into a farming family in Lanarkshire, King was a member of a local pony club and also competed on the showjumping circuit.

Starting working in racing in 1984 with John Wilson in Ayr, he journeyed south to join David Nicholson as a stable lad at Condicote in Gloucestershire a year later - a move that was to have a massive impact on his career.

In 1986 he became assistant trainer and was an integral part of the team when Charter Party won the Gold Cup two years later - before moving with 'The Duke' to Jackdaws Castle at nearby Temple Guiting in 1992.

They enjoyed some memorable times there with Nicholson twice becoming champion trainer.

Following his boss's retirement in December 1999, King took over the licence and within a day Mini Moo Min gave him his first winner with victory at Towcester under Warren Marston.

A first Grade 1 success followed just two weeks later as Anzum captured the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot. With just a year-by-year lease available at Jackdaws Castle, King moved to Barbury Castle in June 2000, with Diva providing his first winner from his new base in the October.

Fork Lightning got him on the Cheltenham Festival scoreboard when taking the William Hill Handicap Chase in 2004.

More glory followed with Voy Por Ustedes preceding his Queen Mother Champion Chase triumph by taking the 2006 Arkle Trophy - a prize won 12 months later by My Way De Solzen following his World Hurdle success.

Katchit was another back-to-back Festival hero for King with his Champion Hurdle victory under Robert Thornton coming 12 months after he won the 2007 Triumph Hurdle.

That was one of two triumphs in the juvenile hurdlers' championship the trainer has enjoyed with Penzance scoring in 2005.

And last year, King saddled Uxizandre to give retiring 20-times champion jockey Tony McCoy an emotional final winner at the Festival.

Big-race success has also come on the Flat, with Shipmaster claiming the Group 3 Sagaro Stakes at Ascot in 2008, while Grumeti sprang a 50/1 shock in last year's Cesarewitch at Newmarket.

Having just clocked up 1,300 winners over jumps, King will be eager for more on the Festival's big stage next month.


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