Sceau Royal faces "huge task" lowering sights of Altior in Tingle Creek

By Andy Stephens@StevoGG
Thu 6 Dec 2018

Alan King said on Thursday that Sceau Royal faces a "huge task" lowering the colours of the mighty Altior in the Betfair Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown on Saturday.

The pair feature among only four runners for the two-mile showpiece but it still promises to be a cracker with the other two runners being the prolific Un De Sceaux, who won the 2016 running, and Saint Calvados, who made a winning return in Ireland last month.

Altior has won all his nine starts over fences and is unbeaten in 14 races over obstacles.

Altior had a gallop at Newbury last month

Last season’s Queen Mother Champion Chase hero signed off that campaign by lifting the Celebration Chase for the second year running at Sandown in April and had a vigorous racecourse workout at Newbury last month.

King is pitching in Sceau Royal after his fluent victory in the Shloer Chase at Cheltenham last month. He jumped typically briliantly that day on what was his first start since January.

"Sceau Royal worked on Wednesday morning and had a pop on Monday, and we are very happy," King said on Thursday.

"It is a huge task, as we know, taking on Altior and it looks like it is going to be an absolutely corking race.

"We were delighted with his win at Cheltenham because that was his first run since February.

Watch how Sceau Royal won the Shloer Chase

"I would like to think he has come on a little bit but he will have to."

Un De Sceaux won an exciting renewal of the Tingle Creek in 2016.

Willie Mullins’ trailblazer has been successful nine times at the top level, the latest coming in the BoyleSports Champion Chase at Punchestown in April when he lowered the colours of his esteemed stablemate Douvan.

Harry Whittington’s Saint Calvados also likes to make the running and he is fresh from an all-the-way win at Naas four weeks ago.

The sponsors make Altior the 8-11 favourite with Un De Sceaux next best at 9-2. Sceau Royal is 5-1 and Saint Calvados the outsider of four at 6-1.

Watch how Un De Sceaux triumphed in 2016

Andrew Cooper, Head of Racing and Clerk of the Course at Sandown Park, said: "Altior's unbeaten record over fences includes three stunning successes at Sandown Park and we all look forward to seeing him here again on Saturday.

"Un De Sceaux was the second-best two-mile chaser in Britain and Ireland last season and his nine Grade One wins of course include a Betfair Tingle Creek Chase.

"Sceau Royal is also a Grade One winner at Sandown Park and along with recent impressive scorer Saint Calvados make up an outstanding quartet for what should be a fascinating renewal."

Betfair spokesman, Barry Orr, said: “Only the four runners but they are four of the five best two-mile chasers in training and the race is chock-a-block with quality.

“Altior has been favourite since the entry stage, that won’t change between now and Saturday, but there has been plenty of support for the three remaining protagonists and a strong case can be made for each of them.

“It’s a cracking renewal and looks a great betting heat.”

Take a walk down Memory lane with our Tingle Creek memories

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