Sceau Royal will take his chance in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton Park on Boxing Day after coming out of the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle in “good order”, according to trainer Alan King.
The nine-year-old defeated last season’s Christmas Hurdle winner Silver Streak on his seasonal bow at Kempton and followed up with a decisive success in the Grade Two Elite Hurdle at Wincanton.
However, the versatile Simon Munir and Isaac Souede-owned gelding, winner of 10 of his 23 races over hurdles, was tapped for toe in the closing stages of last weekend’s two-mile Grade One, where Not So Sleepy and Epatante dead-heated, with Daryl Jacob’s mount a length and a half back in third.
Though Sceau Royal was sent chasing in the spring, the Barbury Castle handler has reverted to the smaller obstacles this autumn and sees the Christmas Hurdle as the ideal race.
King said: “Sceau Royal is fine. We will have a quietish week with him. We will continue his build up and the plan is to go to the Christmas Hurdle with him. He is in good order and has taken his race well. The race looks ideal for him.”
Before that, he is looking forward to Ascot’s Howden Christmas Racing Weekend, with Tritonic set to fly the flag for the yard in the Betfair Exchange Trophy on December 18.
Last season’s Grade Two Adonis Hurdle winner, Tritonic could be joined by stablemate Potterman, who could revert back to hurdles despite winning the bet365 Gold Cup Chase at Sandown in April.
King said: “Tritonic is definitely on course for Ascot. He has been working nicely.
“I’m not sure about Potterman yet. I should imagine if the weather breaks, the ground might be too soft for him then, but I am just giving myself the option. We might leave him for the spring, but we will wait and see.”