Cheltenham: Balthazar King wins at track for eighth time

Richard Johnson on Balthazar King at Cheltenham
Balthazar King raced to the 16th victory of his racing career

Grand National runner-up Balthazar King won for the eighth time at Cheltenham as he claimed the Cross-Country Chase.

The 4-7 favourite, who was second to Pineau De Re at Aintree, brought up a 105-1 treble for jockey Richard Johnson and trainer Philip Hobbs.

Victory moved the gelding closer to the record number of Cheltenham wins - 10 held by Silver Frame since the 1950s.

But Hobbs said Balthazar King, aged 10, would not run at the 2015 Cheltenham Festival, with the National his aim.

"You'd love to come here for the Festival, but we thought that if he hadn't run in it this year he might have gone closer (than second) in the National," said the Somerset trainer.

The horse's triumph from 13-year-old Uncle Junior followed victories for Johnson on Bold Henry and Champagne West.

Champagne West led a Hobbs 1-2, ahead of Colour Squadron, in the Steel Plate and Sections Novices' Chase.

The race has been won in the past by subsequent Cheltenham Gold Cup winners Denman and Imperial Commander, although on this occasion all the fences in the home straight were missed out because of the low sun.