King sets sights on Ultima prize for Wins

Trainer favouring handicap test for novice.

  • Wednesday 26 February
  • News
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Alan King believes the Ultima Handicap Chase could give talented dual-purpose performer Who Dares Wins the best chance to add a Cheltenham Festival victory to his CV.

Last year’s Northumberland Plate hero opened his account over fences at the third time of asking in the Grade Two Pendil Novices’ Chase at Kempton last Saturday.

Although the eight-year-also holds entries in the RSA Novices’ Chase and Marsh Novices Chase, the Barbury Castle handler has earmarked the Grade Three contest as his preferred option.

King said: “I’ve not done much with him since Kempton. He has had a little canter. He is in the Marsh, but I do want to go three miles with him, so it will be the RSA or the Ultima.

“I would favour the Ultima off 147 and I’ve won the race with a novice chaser before back in 2004 with Fork Lightning.

“Whether a massive field would be in his favour, I’m not sure. Although he has run in big fields on the Flat, he will have seen more daylight in them.

“We have got to see how he is before making a decision and I wouldn’t recommend running him if it is heavy.”

Stable star Sceau Royal faces a tough task to repeat his third place in last year’s Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase, but King remains optimistic the eight-year-old can put up another bold effort, providing conditions are suitable.

He said: “He ran very well in the Game Spirit and he has taken it very well. If it was bottomless, we would probably wait with him and keep him back for Aintree.

“It’s unfortunate that it is the best race of the meeting – I’d like to think he could be competitive and if we finish third or fourth, he would be running a mighty race.

“I think he has been better this season and he is better left handed.”

Edwardstone is expected to be suited by a faster pace in the Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle having lost his unbeaten record over jumps in a steadily-run Grade Two contest at Haydock on his last start.

King said: “It looked as if he was going to win at Haydock, then he just got run out of it close home. He has come out of that very well. I will probably take the hood back off him. He worked great this morning and he is a horse that we love.

“The pace in the Supreme should help him settle better, as they will go flat to the boards. He is probably slightly better on better ground, but he will still run regardless. He is very talented and I hope he will run well.”

King revealed Grade Two Aintree mares’ bumper winner The Glancing Queen is on course to make a second appearance in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper on her long-awaited seasonal return.

He added: “The Glancing Queen is likely to come back in the Champion Bumper. It just got too late in the season to go hurdling with her. She worked well this morning. I will take her away at the weekend to work her in Lambourn to give her an away trip.

“She was fifth in it last year. It is difficult to come straight here without a run, but her work is still very good.”

King sets sights on Ultima prize for Wins

Cheltenham 14:50, 10 March 2020

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