Popular Sceau Royal storms to success on jumps return

Alan King capped a perfect weekend following Trueshan's Champions Day exploits on Saturday when his yard favourite Sceau Royal made an emphatic winning return over jumps in the 2m Listed hurdle.

The nine-year-old took his earnings past £500,000 with a three-and-a-half-length success, quickening in decisive fashion between the final two flights to go clear for a 15th career win.

King, who also won with Isolate in the 2m2f novice handicap chase, said of Sceau Royal: "I'm delighted. He's very special, everyone in the yard adores him. He's quite a naughty little horse at home, he's very aggressive in his stable but that's him at his best. When he goes to the track he's just a legend."

The popular Grade 1 winner is set to tread a familiar path mixing it over hurdles and fences this campaign, with a defence of his Elite Hurdle crown at Wincanton the next port of call.

"I think he's as good as ever. He looked as if he might come on for it in the paddock and Daryl [Jacob, winning jockey] thinks the same as he took a little blow. As long as he's okay I'd like to go back to the Elite," King added.

"He has to go left-handed over fences now, I watched the head-on today and he shimmied left, he does that over fences all the time and you can't be giving half a length away in those top races. We'll duck and dive and keep enjoying him – he's a lot of fun."

Silver Streak, winner of the Christmas Hurdle last season and the odds-on favourite to take this race for the third year in succession, produced some sketchy jumps on his return and finished a well-held second.

Balko bounces back

A late decision to stay in Britain paid off handsomely for the Williams team as Balko Saint won the 2m novice hurdle for the mother-and-son duo of trainer and owner Jane and jockey Chester.

The four-year-old, whose last two efforts came in France over the summer, bounced back to his best to land the Listed prize and set up a return trip across the channel.

The winning rider told Racing TV: "This was not the plan until last Monday morning, but on ratings he was the best horse in the race. He'll go back chasing in France now because it's such a good programme for him over there."