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John Allen partnered with Ancient King to win the Grand National Hurdle

A day after riding his first flat winner at Flemington, Irishman John Allen has added another feature jumps race to his record.

Allen partnered with the Darren Weir-trained Ancient King to win the Grand National Hurdle at Sandown on Sunday.

It was another Weir-trained horse, Yogi, who gave Allen his first winner at Flemington.

Allen is as accomplished on the flat as he is over jumps and is notching an impressive record.

His list of feature jumps races includes a Grand National Steeplechase, two Australian Hurdles, three Galleywood Hurdles and two Grand Annual Steeplechases.

After enjoying a good run behind the speed, Ancient King took over on straightening and despite an indifferent jump at the last obstacle went on to record a four length win over Two Hats with Hornets’ Nest 1-1/4 lengths away third.

The win was Ancient King’s fifth over jumps this year and Allen said getting in with 64 kg was key to his success.

Sea King, who was topweight with 71.5 kg, compressed the other weights.

“He jumped super and I was always travelling well until the last where he got it all wrong,” Allen said.

“I just left him to decide what he wanted to do. He was awkward over it but recovered quickly to win well.”

Ancient King’s win was the second National success for Weir after Zanteco’s win last year.

Brad McLean, who is in charge of Weir’s Warrnambool stable, said Ancient King had possibly put his hand up for champion jumper of the year honours.

“Our stable can’t take any credit for this one as he’s been at Ballarat the whole time,” McLean said.

He added Ancient King’s season may not yet be over.

“In a fortnight’s time there’s the Houlahan Hurdle so whether that’s an option or not, Weiry will work that out,” he said.

 
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