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Sceau Royal set for Fighting Fifth mission at Newcastle

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167   //    10 Nov 2016, 16:58 IST

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Alan King's improving Sceau Royal is among 14 entries for the StanJames.com Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle on November 26.

Since his defeat in the Triumph Hurdle and again at Aintree, he has returned this season looking a different animal. An 11-length win at Cheltenham first time out and an impressive display in the Elite Hurdle at Wincanton has seen him shoot up the ratings.

"He was good (at Wincanton), he's gone up another 7lb so he's 156 now, so we're getting there," said King on At The Races.

"The ground would have been as quick as he wanted, Daryl (Jacob) said he was just minding himself a little bit but he's absolutely fine. If we're happy with him he'll probably go to the Fighting Fifth. He won't mind an ease in the ground.”

"We always thought a lot of him and I thought he had a great chance in the Triumph but my horses weren't firing in March. He still needs to improve another 10-12lb (to be a Champion Hurdle horse) but hopefully, he can," King added.

Nicky Henderson has two possibles with last year's runner-up Top Notch, who has run in a novice chase this season, joined by Champion Hurdle runner-up My Tent Or Yours, winner at Newcastle in 2013.

Paul Nicholls has entered 2014 winner Irving, while his former assistant Dan Skelton has put in Mister Miyagi, North Hill Harvey and Optimus Prime.

Henry de Bromhead won the race 12 months ago with Identity Thief and could send Petit Mouchoir across the Irish Sea for this year's renewal. Willie Mullins has entered Clondaw Warrior, while Shark Hanlon's Hidden Cyclone is another potential raider.

Last year's star juvenile Apple's Jade has been given the option by Gordon Elliott despite the trainer stating he was minded to step her up in trip following last week's surprise defeat at Down Royal.

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Source: At The Races

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