Sceau Royal capped a memorable weekend for Alan King when coming out well on top against Silver Streak in the Unibet 3 Uniboosts A Day Hurdle at Kempton.
Just over 24 hours on from cheering home Trueshan at Ascot on Champions Day and seeing Senior Citizen win a decent pot at Market Rasen, stable stalwart Sceau Royal showed he is still going to be a force to be reckoned with this season.
Evan Williams’ Silver Streak was sent off the 4-6 favourite attempting to win the race for the third year in succession.
Having also won the Christmas Hurdle at the track, Silver Streak looked sure to be difficult to beat but his jumping was a little rusty, continually giving away ground at his obstacles.
On the other hand, Sceau Royal (7-4) jumped slickly, with Daryl Jacob happy to take up the running just before the last flight and he sprinted clear to win by three and a half lengths.
“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,” said King.
“He was rated a lot higher over hurdles this year 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 (Champion Chase) last year was very hard to take (badly hampered when going well). I don’t think I’ve ever left a racecourse as disappointed as 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.”
A return to Wincanton to defend his Elite Hurdle title is now on the cards.
“I’d imagine we would go back for the Elite now and go from there,” said King.
“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.”
Williams was philosophical in defeat, saying: “He was beaten by a very good horse and we have so much respect for the winner and Alan’s horses are in very good form. There are no excuses.
“We will go to the Fighting Fifth (at Newcastle) 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 all right – 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.”