Dan Skelton gives the lowdown on his eleven bank holiday runners
12.40 Kempton – Montrachet Mix
I think this track will suit him better than Sandown but basically he is a chaser for the future. This is a nice track to go to and he wouldn’t be without an each way chance, but we are definitely looking at him as a horse that will excel over fences in the future really.
1.45 Kempton – Stephanie Frances
Obviously it’s what everyone expected, there aren’t many people taking on Altior, and it’s only me and Paul Nicholls that have entered horses that might be able to get within shouting distance of him really. So we will set out with the aim of finishing ahead of Marracudja and I’m sure that Marracudja will be adopting the same approach. Realistically something would have to happen to Altior for either Stephanie Frances or Marracudja to win.
Stephanie Frances has been magic for us. As she’s got older she’s become easier to train. After this we are going to run her at Doncaster in a £50k Mare’s hurdle at the end of January. Then we will just try and pick up whatever we can. The reality is that apart from that Mare’s hurdle it’s going to be hard for her to win a race because she has bundles of penalties when she runs in novice chases. I might end up running her in the Red Rum chase at Aintree at the end of the season.
2.20 Kempton – Savello
Savello is likely to be fourth of four. Sire De Grugy, Special Tiara and Sir Valentino have all got better form than him, and it’s going to be hard for him. But he’s taking his chance. He’s always been a regular in these races and hopefully he’ll go and acquit himself well.
2.55 Kempton – Bertimont and Apsatou
Bertimont is just coming to a sensible looking mark. It was a real shame he fell the other day, it’s not like him. The track should suit him a bit better. It will still require big improvement to see him win but he should be able to run better here.
Apsatou has had a long time off the track, and everyone is glad that we have made it here, and we’ll just have to see how she gets on. She’s done all her work nicely at home but you have to see what’s in the tank when you get to the track. It’s a watching brief for her.
12.55 Wetherby – Azzuri, Chateau Chinon and Sulamani The Late
I have three in the first at Wetherby. Azzuri is the most high profile of the three, and is a 139 rated maiden. He gets weight off a couple above him. I’d like to think he’ll win. We had a few problems with him at the start of the season and we didn’t think it was going to happen this year. But he’s worked well over the last couple of months and we are happy with where he is now. He has the superior rating, and he isn’t carrying the penalty, so he has plenty in his favour.
Both my other two in the race are horses for the future. Chateau Chinon is a half-brother to Virgilio and I do like him. He is going the right way but just needs to learn to settle a bit better. He will make a nice horse in time. Sulamani The Late is a similar type. He was a bit naughty the first time he ran, he whipped round at the start. He was a lot better last time and ran with some promise until two out, so I’m hoping he can give another good, honest showing, and we’ll be on the right road with him then.
1.30 Wetherby – Yes I Did
Yes I Did has been a pretty consistent mare. She’s just struggling with her own honesty against the handicapper. This trip will be fine, and Sam, who rides her, he works for us full time and is a good lad. He’s ridden bundles of winners in point to points and a few on the track, and he takes 7lbs off Yes I Did which is handy. She gets into this race off an inflated mark thanks to a new rule by the BHA which allows horses to run if they are 2lbs above the upper rating, but it does mean she has to carry 12 stone 5 lbs which is a lot. With the 7lbs off she should be able to run quite a decent race.
2.35 Wetherby – Oldgrangewood
Oldgrangewood got brought down the other day which was a pain in the backside as he was going really well. I’ve got a bit of respect for The Dutchman. He looks a pretty good horse, but I do like our horse a lot. He’s going the right way so hopefully he’s got a big showing in him.
3.05 Wetherby – Yorkist
I’ve had this race in mind for Yorkist for a good while. I’m really looking forward to running him. He should go well.