Sceau Royal back to winning ways over hurdles with victory in the Listed Unibet 3 Uniboosts A Day Hurdle at Kempton on Sunday, beating Silver Streak and Teqany; Alan King planning return to Elite Hurdle to defend 2020 crown
Sunday 17 October 2021 16:44, UK
Alan King hailed stable stalwart Sceau Royal a "legend" after making his return to action a triumphant one in the feature Unibet 3 Uniboosts A Day Hurdle.
The popular nine-year-old secured his first success since landing last season's Grade Two Betfair Game Spirit Chase at Newbury with victory in the Listed event.
After racing alongside favourite, and winner of the race for the past two seasons, Silver Streak, in behind early leader Teqany, for much of the two-mile prize the 7/4 second favourite loomed into contention at the top of the turn in.
As Silver Streak set sail to try and secure his third success in the race approaching two out his move was immediately covered by Daryl Jacob aboard Sceau Royal, who quickly asserted on the run down the last.
Quickly pressing on after jumping the final flight Sceau Royal, who finished third in last season's bet365 Celebration Chase at Aintree and fifth in the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, had too many gears for his chief market rival with three and a half lengths separating the pair at the line.
King said: "That was lovely. We had the option of going back for the Welsh Champion Hurdle at Ffos Las which he won last year or going for this.
"He was rated a lot higher over hurdles this than he was last year and I thought this was the right place to come and get him started rather than carrying top weight yesterday.
"I thought he would run very well but come on for it a bit. It was a good starting point. He has just been a superstar. He always travels well through his races.
"The Queen Mother last year was very hard to take. I don't think I've ever left a racecourse I did that day and that might have been his big chance but we have regrouped and he has been fine.
"He has been an absolute legend year after year and hopefully there is a bit more in him yet."
King confirmed that Sceau Royal will now step back up to Grade Two level on his next start and try and defend his Unibet Elite Hurdle on November 6 at Wincanton.
He added: "I'd imagine we would go back for the Elite now which he did last year and go from there.
"Over fences, I would only go left-handed as he does go left. I know he won the Henry VIII a few years ago but he is better left-handed over fences.
"We will just duck and dive with him."
An outing in the Grade One Betfair Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle next month remains on the agenda for Silver Streak according to his trainer Evan Williams, who was full of admiration for the winner.
He said: "He was beaten by a very good horse and we have so much respect to the winner and Alan's horses are in very good form. There are no excuses.
"We will go to the Fighting Fifth now. Some days you are not disappointed about getting beaten as you get beaten by the right horse and he is not going to win them all. The winner is a very good horse.
"We will be alright. Good horses get beat. We didn't jump well today. He didn't jump the first or second. I thought we would pick up turning in and go and win the race but he didn't."