ALAN KING Jumps Stable Tours 2021-2022
It has been yet another record-breaking Flat season for Alan King, who smashed his personal best tally with over £1 million in prize-money.
Trueshan gave him his first Group 1 win in the Goodwood Cup and added a second in the Prix du Cadran, while Asymmetric’s Richmond Stakes success was his best juvenile triumph.
Yet the trainer’s roots are firmly in jumping and he might have helped hold the fort against the Irish invaders at Cheltenham last March had Sceau Royal not been almost knocked over when a decidedly unlucky fifth in the Queen Mother Champion Chase.
The highest-rated horse in the yard is set for another potentially profitable season mixing hurdles and fences and may finally be tried over further than two miles.
King has won most of Britain’s top handicap chases in recent seasons and is hoping for further success in 2021-22 in the Paddy Power Gold Cup (with Deyrann de Carjac), Ladbrokes Trophy (Potterman) and Classic Chase (last year’s winner Notachance). He has also long been a man to follow in mares’ races and has another strong team headed by Midnightreferendum and featuring plenty of exciting novices, with Kalma earmarked for the Listed juvenile fillies’ hurdle at Aintree he has won three times in the last nine years.
The pick of his squad are featured here, while King will provide a fuller rundown of the talent at his disposal next month in the Racing Post Weekender, which will carry all the news through the season in the trainer’s exclusive column.
Call Of The Wild
Fame And Glory (sire) – Glory Days (dam)
Owner: John P McManus
Form figures: 1
Racing Post rating: 115b; Official rating: –
He’s a lovely prospect who won his only start in a bumper at Huntingdon. The plan is to start him over hurdles now. I’d think two miles will be far enough for him. He’s a half-brother to our Spring Cup winner Chatez, which was why we were so keen to buy him.
8g Mahler – Nobody’s Darling
John P McManus
RPR 152c OR 147c
He’s done very well for his summer break and is still carrying a bit of condition. He won at Aintree and Wetherby last season and will go back down the staying handicap chase route again, though I don’t know whether he returns to the Grand National course at Aintree as he took a horrible fall there last April.
Deyrann De Carjac
8g Balko – Queyrann
Mr J Law
RPR 148c OR 137c
He’s in good form and the plan is to head for the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham, though I’m not sure if we’ll get a run into him beforehand. He doesn’t want winter ground so we have to crack on before the weather turns. He ran very well over two miles at Warwick last season so I wouldn’t rule out another try at that trip.
7g Kayf Tara – Nothingtoloose
Robert Abrey, Ian Thurtle
RPR 152h OR 150h
He was progressive over hurdles last season. Although he won only once, he ran in top handicaps and acquitted himself well. He’ll now go back over fences. It didn’t happen for him on his first try last season but he schooled last week and it went well. He’s got a lot of stamina in his pedigree and now he’s switching off he’ll stay better.
4f Passing Glance – Call Me A Legend
Pitchall Stud Partnership
She won on her debut in an all-weather bumper at Lingfield and then ran pretty well for a long way in the fillies’ and mares’ race at Aintree, where she was a bit gassy and was taking on five-year-olds, which is a huge disadvantage. She’s decent and will probably start off in the Listed mares’ bumper at Cheltenham before going hurdling.
3c Sixties Icon – Siri
Robert & Lucy Dickinson
RPR 81f OR 74f
We bought him from Mick Channon and I’ve been delighted with him since he arrived. His work and his schooling have been good. He’s ready to start over hurdles as soon as we get a drop of rain.
4f Teofilo – Halaqa
Michael Rembaum & Michael Tuckey
RPR 116h OR –
She’s a lovely ex-French filly and we were delighted with her debut win at Market Rasen. She was coming back from a proper summer holiday and taking on race-fit rivals yet she put it to bed very easily. I think she’s quite a decent novice and we’ll treat her like one.
4f Raven’s Pass – Superfonic
McNeill Family & Niall Farrell
RPR 128h OR 133h
She had a proper break after winning at Cheltenham at the April meeting and should be spot on after a run on the Flat at Nottingham. The plan is to go for the Listed bet365 Mares’ Hurdle at Wetherby on Charlie Hall day. She has good form at two miles but I can see her improving when we step her up in trip; her Flat form suggests that.
Jay Bee Why
6g Yeats – Lady Bernie
David J S Sewell & Tim Leadbeater
RPR 138h OR 136h
He’s a horse we like a lot. He was useful over hurdles last season and as an Irish point-to-point winner I’d hope he might improve a bit more for a switch to chasing. He had a pop over fences last week and that went well but we’ll wait for the weather to break before starting him off, probably in a two-and-a-half-mile novice.
3f Mukhadram – Peters Spirit
RPR 77f OR 72f
She won a couple on the Flat and is back in strong work. She’s schooled and I hope we can work back from the fillies’ juvenile hurdle at Aintree in December that we’ve won three times, probably with one run before that. She gets a mile and a half and doesn’t mind soft ground so we should have fun with her.
4g Mastercraftsman – Ange Bleu
McNeill Family and Niall Farrell
He was a decent bumper horse, winning at Doncaster and being a little unlucky not to follow up at Ayr. He’ll probably have another run and then we’ll take a view as to whether we stay down the top bumper route or send him hurdling. I’m in no rush with him.
Messire Des Obeaux
9g Saddler Maker – Madame Lys
Simon Munir & Isaac Souede
RPR 149h 159c OR 138h 150c
It was a great thrill for everyone to get him back last season; a lot of work went into it. He won’t stand a lot of racing so we’ll take our time with him and might look at a graduation chase. He’s not a three-miler – he was a bit too gassy and didn’t give himself a chance to get home at Wetherby – so we’ll stick to two and a half.
8m Midnight Legend – Forget The Ref
Robert Abrey, Ian Thurtle, David Gibbon
RPR 126h 135c OR 122h 130c
She had a good season and should have won a Listed chase at Exeter but got to the front too soon. She’s done well through the summer and will be aimed at decent mares’ races or handicaps. I’d like to think there will be a good prize in her. Three miles won’t be an issue for her, if ridden right.
5m Flemensfirth – Forever Present
Netherfield House Stud
RPR 105b OR –
She won her last two starts in bumpers and had been doing everything right prior to her hurdling debut at Market Rasen, where she overjumped four out, sprawled on landing and unseated Tom Cannon. I’m sure she’ll bounce back.
Nina The Terrier
5m Milan – Shees A Dante
RPR 126h OR –
She’s a progressive filly and was impressive when winning at Chepstow. We thought she’d be suited by two and a half miles and it certainly looked that way. We’ll be looking to step her up in grade and she’s an exciting prospect.
7g Mahler – Ballybrowney Hall
David Sewell & Tim Leadbeater
RPR 152c OR 146c
He’s back in very good order, having suffered a really nasty injury to a hind hoof last season – you can put a line through his last two runs. The vets and farrier are happy with him and his main target is the Classic Chase at Warwick, which he won in January. We’ll try to get a run into him in the first half of December.
8g Sulamani – Polly Potter
James and Jean Potter
RPR 150c OR 148c
He ran at Perth in the summer and had a longer break but he’s back in stronger work. We’ll try to give him one run and then aim him at the Ladbrokes Trophy before the weather breaks, we hope – he’s a good-ground horse, as he showed in the bet365 Gold Cup. He stays very well.
6h High Chaparral – Dancing Shoes
The Unlikely Lads
RPR 114f OR 104f
He’s been running well on the Flat and needed his last run at Goodwood as we’d given him a break. That should have put him spot on. He’s an entire but plenty of those have gone hurdling and he’s schooled very well. He’s a high-class recruit for jumping.
9g Doctor Dino – Sandside
Simon Munir & Isaac Souede
RPR 158h 168c OR 157h 163c
He had a terrific season and picked up where he left off by winning at Kempton last Sunday, taking his earnings past £500,000. He could try to repeat last year’s win in the Elite Hurdle and we’ll probably switch between hurdles and fences again – he’s equally good over both. I keep talking about stepping him up to two and a half miles but we’ll see how he’s getting on. While he’s won right-handed, including a Grade 1 chase round Sandown, he’s a much better horse going left as he does have a tendency to shift left over fences. That costs him a few lengths and you can’t be doing that against top horses.
8g Tobougg – Mothers Help
RPR 142c OR 134c
I was delighted with his win at Market Rasen last Saturday and the plan is to head for the Grand Sefton Chase at Aintree. He’s run very well over the National fences before, in that and the Topham. He doesn’t want really soft ground as he doesn’t get home. The race is a month earlier this year and I hope conditions will still be okay for him.
The Glancing Queen
7m Jeremy – Glancing
Dingwall, Farrell, Hornsey & Murray
RPR 134h OR 131h
She’s in very good order and her jumping was lovely when she had a pop over fences last week. She’ll start her chasing career when we get a bit of rain, I wouldn’t mind beginning over two miles if the right race came along. She’s an Irish point-to-point winner and I’m really looking forward to getting her over a fence.
4g Sea The Moon – Selenography
McNeill Family and Ian Dale
RPR 142h OR 142h
He won his first two hurdles in good style but came home quite sick after the Triumph and we couldn’t get him to Aintree. I’m sure he’s better than he showed at Cheltenham. I hope to start him off in the Masterson Holdings Hurdle at Cheltenham on Saturday and then we’ll make future plans after that. I wouldn’t be in any rush to step him up in trip as he has plenty of pace.
Two for the Tracker
Greystoke could be a very decent juvenile hurdler and I hope Jay Bee Why will improve for a switch to chasing.
Alan King has had a year of years with his Flat runners and Group 1 and 2 victories have been like shelling peas with classy stayer Trueshan and precocious juvenile Asymmetric.
Let’s not forget that King, who is now one of the best dual purpose trainers around, had the bulk of his early success as a trainer with jumpers. So can he get back to the top in this discipline?
You have to go back to 2015 and Uxizandre’s victory in the Ryanair Chase to find King’s last Cheltenham Festival winner and he has saddled 87 straight losers at the meeting since then.
Maybe that’s because King is a consistent performer away from the festival. Most yards go through peaks and troughs as the year goes by, but King’s stable isn’t so up and down. In nine of the 12 months of the year, since the start of 2016, it has operated at better than 15 per cent.
Only December, March and April dip below that, so maybe King’s runners go into those months – arguably the biggest three of the jumps season – having already done their running.
The summer is actually King’s most fruitful period and his runners in the months from May to September inclusive, since the start of 2016, strike at more than 24 per cent (105-437).
In terms of courses, look out for when King sends runners on long journeys north. He is 4-6 at Catterick, 2-5 at Newcastle and 3-8 at Hexham in recent years, but Warwick is his go-to. He has saddled eight more winners (29) there than at any other course in the last five seasons.
Analysis by Graeme Rodway