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CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL WINNER AND RUNNER UP IN 2021 GRAND NATIONAL
A racehorse is lucky to come under the tutelage of one of the great trainers, capable of taking the rough-cut young gem and moulding it into a polished diamond.
Balko des Flos has been doubly fortunate in starting his career at the yard of the many-times Irish Champion, Willie Mullins, before joining the string of another master of the profession, Henry de Bromhead.
Mullins could see his talent from the start but was keen not to rush this half-brother to the Cheltenham Festival-winning chaser, Salut Flo. So, it was only a couple of weeks before his fifth birthday that he was allowed to jump an obstacle in public for the first time following two front-running victories in National Hunt Flat Races.
Within less than four months of that debut he was running with credit in Grade 1 Novice Hurdles at both the Cheltenham and Grand National Festivals.
Balko des Flos was later transferred to the de Bromhead stable, but the move did nothing to stunt his progress. A win and two placings preceded a third in a Grade 1 novice chase in February 2017 and a month later he was in the lead when falling at the fourth last in the JLT Novices Chase at Cheltenham.
His first big money success came that summer in the Galway Plate and he then enjoyed his finest hour when beating the likes of Un De Sceaux, Frodon and Cue Card to lift the Grade 1 Ryanair Chase at the 2018 Cheltenham Festival.
Balko Des Flos very nearly made history on 10th April when finishing runner-up in the Grand National to Minella Times and Rachael Blackmore.
Henry De Bromhead said “I’m delighted RacehorseClub purchased Balko Des Flos before the Grand National to stay in the yard as he’s a horse I really didn’t want to lose. He was amazing in the Grand National. He looks sure to give RacehorseClub members even more fun on the big days ahead. The plan is to run him in the cross country races at Cheltenham before a repeat bid at the Grand National."