Balthazar King who was severely injured in last Saturday’s race and was lucky to have survived, is now being cared for by experts at the University of Liverpool’s Philip Leverhulme Equine Hospital. However, just days after a nasty fall in the Grand National, Balthazar King is up on his feet and recovering well at a Merseyside horse hospital. Amy Browne at the Liverpool Echo takes up the story…
The 11-year-old had it not been for the expert care he received at Aintree.
He now faces a long road to recovery and it is not certain whether he will ever race again.
Speaking to the ECHO, Balthazar King’s trainer Philip Hobbs said: “He’s doing very good indeed and is probably coming home to Somerset in the next week or two.
“He fractured four of his ribs and suffered a slightly punctured lung, so initially he was bleeding into his chest cavity and the vets had to draw off some of the fluid. But his treatment went very well and he’s getting out of the stable now to walk around.”
Balthazar King was one of the favorites to win the Grand National, having been runner up in last year’s race, but tumbled on the first circuit at the eighth fence. After receiving treatment on the course, he was taken to the University of Liverpool’s Philip Leverhulme Equine Hospital, in Neston, Wirral, where he is continuing to receive treatment.
Mr Hobbs added: “When he fell I didn’t know what had happened to start with so my mind was racing, but the staff at Aintree were very organised and quickly transported us to him on the course.
“He actually got up quite quickly but was clearly in a lot of pain. We are just so thankful he’s recovering well.”
One of the people who treated Balthazar King was Dr Ellen Singer, senior lecturer in equine orthopedics, who is based at Aintree racecourse.
Speaking to the ECHO at the equine hospital where Balthazar King is being monitored round the clock, Dr Singer said: “During the Grand National there’s a vet every two fences so Balthazar King received immediate treatment on the course. It was lucky that he came here so quickly by horse ambulance and has responded well to treatment, because if a decision had been made to just monitor his condition for an hour or so at the course we could have had a very different outcome.
“Since being here he’s been given oxygen and a lot of pain relief and we’ve been closely monitoring his breathing.
“He’s still got an IV line in and a bandage around his chest to keep him stable. We’re just doing what we can to make sure he’s comfortable.
“The first couple of days he was very quiet, but now he’s quite bright and eager to eat, which is a good sign. It’s hard to tell how long it will take him to recover, but it’s going to be about six to eight weeks before he’s comfortable.
“We can’t say whether he will race again, the first goal is to let his ribs heal and then it will be a decision that his trainer will make based on veterinary advice, but he may well decide to retire him.”