December 10, 2017
A decade has passed since Voy Por Ustedes and My Way de Solzen gave Alan back-to-back victories in the Arkle Chase at Cheltenham, but over the next three months the Barbury team will be dreaming about being back on the glory trail with Sceau Royal, who was simply magnificent in capturing the Grade 1 Henry VIII Novices’ Chase at Sandown yesterday.
“The Arkle is the aim and I wouldn’t be worried about going straight there, but we’ll discuss our options and he could have one prep after his break,” said Alan as he stood proudly in the Esher winner’s enclosure.
Reflecting on Sceau Royal’s success over what was a high-class field, Alan added:”Granted, there was carnage behind, but I always thought that we had them all well covered, and he was very good at a track which takes some jumping.
“Sceau Royal might have been around 7lb short of the best over hurdles, but he was always so slick at his obstacles and it has been the same story from the very first time we schooled him over fences. He’s been electric from day one.
“Daryl (Jacob) was taking a pull all the way round, but even at the second last I was saying ‘wait, wait’, though once he let him go Sceau Royal really powered up that hill.
“Warwick gave him so much confidence, and, though he was taking on the big boys at Sandown, we weren’t going to make any excuses as I knew that I had never had him better.”
Jacob was similarly enthusiastic and said:”Sceau Royal was awesome and he really pinged his fences, so much so that I got to the front too soon and had to take another pull. We have brought him along slowly and it is starting to pay off.”
Perhaps the only surprise was the fact that Sceau Royal started the complete outsider at 11-1, and, while he could not bridge the gap with the best over hurdles, the sky’s the limit now.