Trained by Nicky Henderson, Hunt Ball was one of four of his hopes for the 2014 Grand National, the others being Long Run, Triolo D’Alene and Shakalakaboomboom.
Hunt Ball is nine years old and prior to the race had a mixed season primarily because he changed ownership at the end of July 2013 and was bought by Atlantic Equine who promptly moved him to the USA where they thought he could do very well.
8 wins and 7 places from 21 chase starts means Hunt Ball has been in the money 71% of the time
He ran four times there at Saratoga, Belmont Park and Fair Hill and failed to shine in all four of the runs at which point it was decided to move him back to the UK to Nicky Henderson’s yard.
He left the UK with an OR of 162 and despite the relatively poor US performances, the BHA Handicapper didn’t take them into account when weighting him for the Grand National and handed him 11-07.
Traditionally more than most winners carry, Hunt Ball can run off more than that including two UK runs where he carried 11-07 at Ascot when he finished third in February 2014 and 11-10 at Cheltenham where he placed fourth in the Ryanair Chase on March 13th 2014.
On the betting markets and was not a fancied horse and remained a general 66/1 with many bookmakers, despite having 19 chases under his belt returning eight wins and six places, which is 14/19 in the top three home!
Result:He ran a good race but could only manage to get home in 17th place from 18 finishers with jockey Andrew Tinker guiding him all the way.
He will still only be 10 years old when the 2015 Grand National rolls around and Henderson may give another shot depending on his season and how much the BHA Handicapper gives him in the weights.