Sceau Royal wins a third Elite Hurdle
Daryl Jacob rides Sceau Royal in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle on Saturday

Sceau Royal bids for Grade 1 success in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle

It didn't happen for Bristol de Mai in the Betfair Chase, but Daryl Jacob could land another big pot this weekend with Sceau Royal in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle.

Sceau Royal deserves another Grade One

This is a big day for SCEAU ROYAL when he lines up in the Betfair Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle on Saturday. We know he is in really good form at home and his form is very solid this year.

If Epatante or any of the others underperform, hopefully we’re going to be there to have a go at winning the race. I think the horse deserves to pick up another Grade One.

For many years now he has been ultra-consistent, but they’re not easy races to win.

It’s a very competitive race with six runners and Epatante is obviously the standout mare. If she comes back to the form she was in when she beat us last year, then she’s going to be tough to beat again, but she disappointed on her next couple of runs.

It all depends on which Epatante turns up. She does go very well fresh, so I think it’s going to be very difficult to beat her.

There’s a couple of other nice horses in there as well, so I don’t think there will be any hiding place. It should be a good race and we’re really excited and looking forward to it.

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Indefatigable can go the Distance

I’m looking forward to riding INDEFATIGABLE in the Ladbrokes Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury on Friday, she’s a tough and genuine mare. She’s everything that you’d want in a racehorse and I won on her at Wetherby.

Thankfully, the owners have a put a lot of faith in me and it’s great to ride her again – I didn’t think I would ride her again, so I very much appreciate them giving me another opportunity. Hopefully, she’s got a real fighting chance.

I was getting a lot more weight from Paisley Park at Wetherby and he is a better horse than what he showed there. If Paisley Park comes back to his form when he was very, very good, he’s going to be the hardest horse to beat in the race.

I like Paul Nolan’s horse [Mrs Milner] as well, though, she’s a nice type of horse.

I think it’s a very competitive race, but the ground will definitely suit my mare and the track will suit her as well. She’s got very good form and, if she improves a little bit from Wetherby, I’m hoping she’ll be bang there jumping the last again.

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Not all about Sceau Royal at Newcastle

I have three other rides at Newcastle on Saturday, kicking off with TWILIGHT TWIST in the Paul Ferguson's Jumpers To Follow Introductory Juvenile Hurdle.

I schooled him at Alan King’s on Monday and he’s a horse I really like. He’s a lovely little jumper. He seems very straightforward and I won this race a few years ago for Alan, so it’s nice to get back on one again that has got a really good chance.

Hopefully, he will keep progressing as the year goes on and he might have some nice targets towards the end of the year.

The horse he beat at Huntingdon finished second in the Grade 2 at the November Meeting, so it’s nice to see the form working out well.

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I ride VALLERES in the Betfair Daily Rewards Novices' Limited Handicap Chase. He ran a really nice race at Newbury on his first run over fences, we were very happy with that.

They went a real solid gallop that day and he stayed on really nicely towards the end. That wasn’t a novice handicap either, it was an open handicap for his first start over fences.

I think he could be on an upward curve and he could a nice horse for us to look forward to for the season. He’s stepping up to three miles and he wants this sort of trip. Three miles around a nice track like Newcastle should be perfect for him.

I'm also booked to ride GOOD BOY BOBBY in the Betfair Exchange Rehearsal Handicap Chase.

It was nice to win on him at Wetherby, he needed that really. He disappointed us all last year. Even when he won first-time-out at Bangor, he didn’t exactly set the world alight. Maybe he just wasn’t 100% himself last year for whatever reason.

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He felt really good at Wetherby, it was nice to get this season off to the perfect start. He jumped well, travelled well and felt like a different type of horse.

I thought it was a good competitive race and I think the form is going to be quite strong. A couple of horses who finished behind us have come out and run very well since.

If he can keep that level of form and even improve a little bit, I think he could be hard to beat again. He’s only got 10-9 on his back and that’s a really good weight for him.

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Not to be for Bristol de Mai at Haydock

The ground was obviously against BRISTOL DE MAI in last weekend's Betfair Chase at Haydock. He didn’t enjoy the quick conditions and I knew my fate fairly early on.

He couldn’t go with his usual zest and he couldn’t jump as quick as the rest of them, so the writing was on the wall early doors.

Please God he’ll live to fight another day and please God we get a bit of rain soon. The Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham in January would be a possibility and I think the handicapper might have dropped him 6lb as well.

You never know, he might be able to go in one of those races like the Grand National Trial at Haydock.

There will be a few options for him now, we just need to get a bit of softer ground. Hopefully, we’ll see him back to his best very, very soon.

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Lots more to come from Jetoile

I won on JETOILE at Chepstow on Friday and we were very happy with him, he’s a lovely type of horse.

He’s a horse that still needs to learn a little bit more, but I think with every run he’ll get better and better. He’s clearly got a bit of ability and I think the handicapper has given him a rating of 125 now, so that’s nice.

I think we’ll probably stick to novices with him at the moment because he still needs to learn his trade a little bit.

We’re getting there slowly with him and it is going to be a slow process, but hopefully the process will be worthwhile for the future.

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