Sefton aim for Senior Citizen as Alan King enjoys a memorable afternoon
What a day for Alan King. Not only did Trueshan confirm himself the top stayer around, but Senior Citizen also won him a second straight Symphony Group Prelude Chase 180 miles to the north.
Yet while the Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup winner is done for the season, his stablemate has another big prize in his sights in the Betway Grand Sefton Chase at Aintree on November 6.
The 9-2 joint favourite scored by two lengths here under the McNeill family's retained jockey Adrian Heskin, in a £45,000 race King won with Fidux last year.
The rider said: "That was very nice. He's a good horse fresh and he was on a nice mark for the start of the season.
"Aintree is the plan. He's jumped well round there twice and they've brought the race forward a month this year, so the nicer ground will be a benefit to him hopefully."
King's assistant trainer Robin Smith added: "That was terrific. I've been in touch with Alan down at Ascot and he's having a fine day!"
Great to have him back
Maninsane bounced back from a near-death experience to land the maiden hurdle.
The 11-2 shot had been off for nearly eight months after a fall at Southwell on February.
After his 11-length win under Paul O'Brien, trainer Charlie Longsdon said: "It is great to have him back after what happened on his last run.
"It was an innocuous fall but he fractured loads of ribs and punctured his lungs, which kept collapsing. The vets were very close to finishing it and he was very lucky.
"His form last season was very solid and he's a grand horse who is really a chaser. We were toying with going chasing straight away but we couldn't do it after what happened last time."
The maiden hurdle favourite At Poets Cross was fatally injured, while Hoorayhenry suffered the same fate in the opening mares' novice hurdle won by On My Command.
Back in front
Charlie Deutsch, who had his best season in 2020-21, rode his first winner for six months when Stolen Silver landed the novice handicap chase.
"I've had plenty of rides but not much luck," he said. "It's nice to get a boost and get one on the board."
Stolen Silver, a Grade 2 hurdle winner, was getting off the mark at the fourth attempt over fences and on his first run since rejoining Sam Thomas.
"He did it well," Deutsch said. "He didn't miss a beat with his jumping. He's very free-going and the ground helped him, he bounced off it. I'm delighted for Sam, it's one of his first few runners this season."
Bryony Frost won the 2m4f handicap hurdle on Martello Sky, then looked forward to a date with her King George VI Chase winner in the Ladbrokes Champion Chase.
"In a fortnight's time we go over to Down Royal with Frodon," the jockey said. "That's exciting.
"We'll see how we get on on Irish turf and we have nothing to lose. I've had a few rides there as an amateur but none as a professional and I'm looking forward to it."
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