King surprised by Julio progress

Alan King admits Hold On Julio’s progress has come as a surprise ahead of his run in Saturday’s Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster.

Bought for a relatively small sum of £28,000 last May, the winning hunter chaser has annihilated good opposition in two Sandown handicaps since joining his new trainer.

He is the ante-post favourite for this weekend’s valuable prize on Town Moor - formerly known as the Great Yorkshire Chase – and King is looking forward to seeing his charge back on the racecourse.

“After his first run he got ringworm and we couldn’t run him for a couple of months. His jumping was a bit sketchy on that next run, but he’d never been so quick in his life and it was a much better race,” King told At The Races.

“But he didn’t get rattled and the farther he went, the better it (jumping) got. He went up 14lb, which he was entitled to really.

“We’ve really loved him since we started working him in the autumn. Everybody that sat on him said he was a very nice horse and I must admit he surprised me a bit.

“His homework has been exceptionally good. Let’s hope it can continue.”

Ian Williams was glad to see the form of the Rowland Meyrick at Wetherby receive a boost at Haydock over the weekend.

The Alvechurch handler’s Wayward Prince finished fourth to According To Pete on Boxing Day, and the winner defied a rise in the weights to land the Peter Marsh Chase on Merseyside.

Wayward Prince was one of the star staying novices last term and was third in the RSA Chase, but ran no sort of a race on his reappearance in the Hennessy Gold Cup, a performance Williams still finds hard to explain.

He is on course to run at Doncaster this weekend.

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