Alan King is to save Sceau Royal for a spring campaign after he found conditions too testing in the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown on Saturday.
Winner of the Sholer Chase on his return following a long lay-off last month, Sceau Royal struggled at the business end of the two-mile showpiece and eventually came home last of four behind Altior.
Despite that disappointment, King is still looking to the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham in March.
“He’s been pretty quiet since. We won’t run him on that ground again. He’s only ever won on good to soft, but you can’t take him out of a four-runner Grade One,” the Barbury Castle handler told At The Races.
“We’ll probably leave him now for the spring and come back then. He’s fine, he’ll be OK.
“Let’s face it, the front two are probably too good for us anyway, but I was disappointed he couldn’t hold on for third. He got very tired from the last. There will be other days for him.
“He might go straight to Cheltenham. I wouldn’t mind going there fresh or there’s Aintree and possibly back at Sandown on the final day of the season, the Celebration Chase.
“There are lots of targets for him, but I don’t want to abuse him on that ground again.”