Alan King optimistic for season ahead

Alan King is hoping to improve on last season's tally of 58 winners

A positive frame of mind is vital for any trainer when the going gets tough – and after enduring a frustrating 2017/18 season, Alan King hopes it will be a case of onwards and upwards this campaign.

While stable stars Yanworth and Elgin may be out of action for the foreseeable future, the Barbury Castle trainer is optimistic that – with the talent that remains at his disposal – his most recent domestic total of 58 winners can be eclipsed.

He said: “Last season was disappointing. But the ground was horrendous, and we were way down on the number of runners and therefore down on the number of winners.

“We did have a few a good winners, because Sceau Royal won a Grade One and Yanworth was my 1,500th career winner.

“It was a difficult season, but we move on. The horses are in good form – and we look forward, and not back.”

Five To Follow

Full Glass

“He came to me half way through the season. He had decent form in France. We only gave him the one run, and he finished third in a Listed chase over two and a half miles at Ayr. The ground would have been plenty quick enough, but we were delighted with the run. His target is the BetVictor Gold Cup, provided there is a bit of soft ground about. He is a horse that will get three miles, but we will start at two and a half – and I think he is a horse that will love proper winter ground when we get it. He is quite an exciting prospect to have.”

Giving Glances

“She was very progressive on the Flat this year. She won twice and was second at Goodwood, and she is now rated 85 on the Flat. She has had a little break and is now back in very good form. All being well, she will go to Leicester in the next fortnight for a juvenile fillies’ hurdle. If that went well, we would then go on to Aintree at the beginning of December for the fillies’ Listed juvenile hurdle. She is a filly I like and is very strong. She could be above average.”

Mia’s Storm

“She was a good mare last year, but it all ended up going slightly wrong in the spring. She fell at Kempton over Christmas in soft ground – which she doesn’t handle. I think she was gone by the time we took her to her to Ayr. She was never travelling before she fell. I thought it was a great weight-carrying performance at Uttoxeter off top weight. We schooled her over fences the other morning with a view to running her in the race at Market Rasen she won last year. I had a chat with Wayne (Hutchinson), and he said stick to hurdles for the time being. She will probably go to Kempton in a couple of weeks’ time for a mares Listed hurdle.”


“He was very good last season. He won three races and was very good at Kempton in the Grade Two. He didn’t handle the bottomless ground at the Cheltenham Festival. It took a lot out of him, and I couldn’t get him back for Aintree or Punchestown – so he has had a holiday. He has come back in good form – and I thought it was a good, tough performance the other day at Cheltenham, giving over a stone to a race-fit mare. We are going for the Elite at Wincanton on Saturday, and we will take it one race at a time with him. I’m not sure he is a Champion Hurdle horse just yet – but we will see.”

Sceau Royal

“It was a little niggle he had last season, and we could have probably got him back for Punchestown, but we thought it was not worth the risk. We’ve had no interruptions – he is fresh and well and he heads to Cheltenham a week on Sunday for the Shloer Chase, all being well. He is not a big horse, so I can’t run him in a handicap because he is not a horse to be lumping big weights around. We will then look at the Tingle Creek, and you have the Desert Orchid after that. That’s what we are thinking at the moment. We could go two and a half if we have to, but at the moment we will stick to the two-mile route.”