Stabletalk: “He’ll love the trip, love the track and love the ground”
Trainer Dan Skelton previews his weekend runners, gives an update on his stable and looks ahead to Cheltenham…
He goes in the ground. He is probably a two miler in really bad ground and a two and a half miler on better. He’s in a grade where he can be competitive and Sam, a good lad who works with us, takes a handy 7lbs off. I fully expect him to be competitive.
Aintree My Dream is top rated in this and Bridget takes 3lbs off. He has won around the track and goes on the ground. He ran third at Haydock a few weeks ago when ours weren’t running well so I do give him a decent chance back in novice company.
Knockgraffon will love the trip, love the track and love the ground. I think he can be really competitive in this. The trip might be a little sharp for Two Taffs, but he’s a very efficient jumper so should suit the five fences that come quickly after each other down the back. However after that lacklustre display last time, I just want to see a little bit more from him.
Predict A Riot’s first run of the season was diabolical; it was like he just didn’t turn up. I just can’t explain it. He’s run a lot better since and the form of those races has worked out quite nicely. He went up a couple of pounds the other day without running. The trip is ideal and the ground is fine. He’s just getting the hang of things and I think he’s one of those horses that as the season progresses he’ll improve. I give him an each way chance.
The horses are running well again now. We always knew that would be the case. We gave most of the horses their flu vacs just after Christmas and you have to then sit out that rough period – that quiet month – that follows. It’s not a head-scratcher when the horses run flat during that period, you know it’s going to happen and you have to roll with it. It’s frustrating but you have to go through it, and the owners understand it, and you do it for a reason. I’m not going to do it the same way next season as I want to see if we can keep up the momentum. But you can see that all of a sudden the horses are in great form and I’m particularly happy with the health of them all now. There isn’t a better time to be happy with them, than the period building up to Cheltenham and the spring Festivals.
It was good to see the likes of Bertimont and Willow’s Saviour run such nice races in the week. It just shows the rewards for being patient with them earlier in the season and they are just starting to blossom now. They’ve both had injuries but those second place finishes were a step in the right direction.
Superb Story is going straight to the Champion Hurdle. He won’t now have an entry in the County. Ch’ Tibello will probably run in the Kingwell at Wincanton next week. I’m hopeful that both horses can run well in the Champion, and as it stands Harry will ride Superb Story in the race. He has been a very progressive horse for us, although we haven’t dipped him into open weight for age company yet. He looks more than ready for it though and he has good form around Cheltenham. He goes well fresh and there’s improvement to come from Musselburgh. The way the race is cutting up I just think it gives him a good chance.
Ch’ Tibello was third in the Christmas Hurdle not far behind the horse who is challenging for favouritism for the Champion. That was his first dip at Grade 1 company, so he’s not a back number either. He’s beaten My Tent Or Yours twice this year, and I know that horse hasn’t won a Champion Hurdle but he was second in it last year. I noticed Ch’ Tibello was behind My Tent Or Yours in the betting for the Champion Hurdle and I can’t understand that. Ch’ Tibello has beaten him twice on merit.
I know I said at the time that Cause Toujours won at Warwick that he wouldn’t go for Cheltenham, and I’m always embarrassed when I go against my word, but the ground at Newbury is so soft that I now think we are better off going to Cheltenham on better ground, than trying to slog it out on ground we know he doesn’t want. So we will go for the Champion Bumper with him. He’s won of the topratedUK bumper horses so I do feel justified in doing it.
North Hill Harvey heads for the CountyHurdle. It’s always been the plan to go there fresh and I’m very happy with him. Lakeside Castle runs next week in the Albert Bartlett race up at Haydock and will hopefully then go to Cheltenham. Mister Miyagi will probably go for the Coral Cup. We’ve got some nice horses to go there with.