Alan King has pinpointed a bad case of hiccups to explain Penzance's poor performance in Saturday's Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton. Last season's Triumph Hurdle winner could finish only seventh behind Briareus in the Grade Two contest despite being sent off the 9-4 favourite.
"He ran so badly that something had to come to light," King said. "He came back with a condition called the thumps. It's something I have seen only once before in one of my horses, but the vets at the racecourse told me it's much more common in Flat horses racing in the summer.
"It is caused by dehydration and all I can say is that it's like a bad case of the hiccups."
Penzance is still available at 33-1 for the Smurfit Champion Hurdle.
Graham Lee will again ride the 2004 Grand National winner, Amberleigh House, in this year's renewal. The 14-year-old finishing a staying-on seventh behind Our Armageddon in the Singer & Friedlander Handicap Chase at Uttoxeter on Saturday.
* Today's card at Carlisle has been abandoned as the course is waterlogged.