Balthazar King next to try to end Johnson’s Grand National woes
Richard Johnson can hardly be described as the luckiest jockey in the horse racing game, but rather than being runner-up in the jockey’s championship countless times to Tony McCoy in the last decade, it is his disappointments in the Grand National that may represent the biggest blot on his copybook.
Johnson is now the holder of the unwanted record of the most attempts at trying to win the Grand National, without ever being on board the winner.
This record was broken last year when Planet Of Sound became the 16th horse to fail to provide Johnson with a National victory, finishing down the field in 12th spot.
His best result remains the second he achieved on What’s Up Boys in 2002 and Balthazar King is the next in line to attempt to turn around Johnson’s fortunes.
The good news is that Johnson’s record in the race is not being regarded as a negative by punters, with the horse being one of the best backed in the Grand National line-up since the start of the month into his current price of 20/1.
One of the chief reasons for this is the growing possibility of good ground at Aintree, which is a surface that Balthazar King will certainly appreciate, perhaps more than any of the other 39 runners taking part.
He was withdrawn from the Cross Country at the Cheltenham Festival because the ground was too soft and this decision seems to be justified.
Balthazar King has never won on his six career starts on a surface described as soft or heavy, while on good to soft or firmer, he has finished in the top two in over half of his 29 starts.
Stamina should not be an issue either, as he holds a victory over 3m7f on his resume and Johnson knows the horse better than anyone, having partnered him over 20 times in his career.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.