(16 March 2008 to 12 April 2015)



National Hunt Novices’ Hurdle – winner – ridden by Choc Thornton

Ascot - 18 February 2012

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In the Parade Ring

In the Winners’ Enclosure

JCB Triumph Hurdle (Grade 1) – faller – ridden by Wayne Hutchinson

Cheltenham – 16 March 2012

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Cantering to the start,

Choc aboard Grumeti leads the way

Balder Succes is unharmed following his mishap

Champion Hurdle (Grade 1) – unseated rider – ridden by Wayne Hutchinson

Cheltenham - 12 March 2013

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The Pre-race Parade

Cantering to the start

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Balder Succes is led back by stable lad Steve Ayres; the horse is unharmed

Novices’ Chase – faller at the penultimate fence due to low sun – ridden by Choc Thornton

Cheltenham – 19 October 2013

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In the Parade Ring

Cantering up in front of the grandstands

on the way to the starting gate



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One circuit to go

Henry VIII Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) – finished 5th – ridden by Choc Thornton

Sandown Park – 07 December 2013

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In the Parade Ring

In the Parade Ring

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Cantering to the start, ahead of

Manyriverstocross and Taquin Du Seuil

Jumping the open-ditch

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Heading up the hill to the winning post

Pendil Novices’ Chase (Grade 2) – winner – ridden by Wayne Hutchinson

Kempton Park – 22 February 2014

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In the Parade Ring

In the Parade Ring

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Over the last fence

Heading back to the Winners’ Enclosure

Maghull Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) – winner – ridden by Wayne Hutchinson

Aintree – 05 April 2016

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Being led out onto the racecourse

One circuit to go

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Wayne Hutchinson celebrates

as he crosses the line

Wayne is interviewed post-race by Channel 4

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Balder Succes is led back to the Winners’ Enclosure

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Ryanair Chase (Grade 1) – unplaced following a bad error early in the race – ridden by Wayne Hutchinson

Cheltenham – 12 March 2015

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Cantering to the start

The race is replayed; it was won

by stable companion Uxizandre

Melling Chase (Grade 1) – Balder Succes’ final race – ridden by Wayne Hutchinson

Aintree – 10 April 2015

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Exiting the Parade Ring

The Pre-race Parade

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Cantering to the start ... Balder Succes would return by horse ambulance L


This is my recollection of events ...


Poor Balder Succes took a heavy fall at the third fence although, at first he seemed okay because he got up and moved out of camera shot.  But I think it had to be a concern at that point that he didn’t follow the field; unlike Sire De Grugy who fell slightly later during the race. 


I didn’t catch sight of his lad, Steve Ayres, who I presume would have headed out onto the track as soon as Balder had fallen; but we did see Assistant Trainer Ollie Wardle and Travelling Head Lad Matt Howells, exit via the small gate situated beside the horse-walk with the hope of reaching the horse as soon as possible.  However, having reached the rail to the outside of the two small enclosures in front of the Earl Of Derby / Lord Sefton stands, a steward prevented them from crossing the track until the horses had completed the race. 


Once given the all clear, they ran over to a vehicle parked to the inside of the track and were driven out into the country to find their horse.  A few minutes later, the horse ambulance drove down the road to the inside of the home straight, light flashing; Balder had been collected.  Having reached the bottom bend, they stopped for a few moments before proceeding across the racecourse to the stables.


Ollie Wardle returned via the horse-walk, carrying Wayne’s saddle and Balder’s bridle; he looked very glum.  A very worrying sign.  However, Steve kept his followers informed as best he could.  Balder would be staying in the stables overnight, and he in Liverpool too, rather than returning home. 


On Saturday, Steve tweeted a photograph of Balder travelling in a horsebox; it transpired he was being delivered to the Leahurst Equine Hospital.  He also mentioned that his pride and joy was reacting strangely to the sounds of the Liverpool traffic, such as sirens.  There was no announcement regarding the nature of the injury at this stage.


Then, on Sunday, it was announced that poor Balder had been put to sleep that morning having sustained a shoulder injury which was discovered to be inoperable.  It is devastating news for connections and everyone who appreciates talented horses. 



Balder groom touched by messages of support

By Graham Green, Racing Post 14 April 2015


Steve Ayres, second head lad to trainer Alan King, was unable to hold back the tears as he described his devastation at the loss of Grade 1-winning Balder Succes, who had to be put down due to injuries suffered in a third-fence fall in the Melling Chase at Aintree on Friday.


The 31-year-old has been overwhelmed by the support he has received from the public after taking to social media to express his grief that exemplifies the emotional bond many stable staff forge with their horses.


“I’ve had more than 3,000 tweets and they’ve gone straight to my heart, but I really do feel I’ve lost my best friend,” said Ayres, who had looked after Balder Succes since the horse first walked into King’s yard four years ago, and who he rode out daily.


“I have worked in the horseracing industry for 17 years and I don’t know what it was, but something just sparked with Balder Succes, it was the sort of person he was.  He was epic.”


Balder Success, who won the Grade 1 Maghull Novices’ Chase at last year’s National meeting and also scored at the highest level in the Ascot Chase in February, spent Friday night in the racecourse stables, where Ayres iced his damaged shoulder for 20 minutes every hour before travelling with him to Leahurst Equine Hospital the following morning.


Ayres added: “He certainly seemed better than the day before which perked me up, and I certainly wasn’t fearing the worst when I left him.


“I went to work on Sunday morning and we hadn’t heard anything and I went home – I live only 100 yards from Balder’s stable – but then an hour later the boss knocked at my door and I knew straight away and just fell to my knees.”


The pain was still raw on Monday as Ayres, father of two young girls, added: “I have had messages from so many people, expressing sympathy and wishing me well, but I still feel devastated, there is no other word for it, and although riding out takes your mind off it a bit, being in the same place we were together is horrific.”




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