StableTalk: It could end up being the ‘Skelton Show’ on Saturday!
The Grade 2 Wincanton Rising Stars Novices’ Chase (1.30) is our first port of call and provided the forecast downpour of rain stays away, I’ll be running Long House Hall. He was unlucky at Cheltenham when he unseated and then tipped up again when loose but he’s schooled well since and this would be a good opportunity to get him back on track. The race is a competitive one but it’s near on impossible to find an easy novice chase nowadays and if he does line up, I’m hoping the small field will be a help to him.
Just A Normal Day takes his chance for us in Aintree’s 1.55 and with Bridget’s 5lb claim he’s got a lovely racing weight of just 9st 13lb. He wouldn’t want the ground too soft but he ran really well at Newton Abbot last time and I expect this track to suit him much better. He goes there with a good chance.
I’m stepping Wilton Milan (2.05 Wincanton) up in trip because I feel the handicapper’s got him at the middle trip so we’re going to ride him with some patience and see how he fares. It’s a notoriously competitive handicap but he’s got a nice racing weight, the ground will be fine for him and if he stays he’ll have a chance.
Upepito (3.05 Aintree) made a very pleasing start for us at Wetherby where I thought he jumped exceptionally well and was unlucky to just get done by Village Vic. I had him pretty fit that day but he should still come on a little for that effort. The track will suit him, again, he’s got a nice racing weight and his run the last day gives me some confidence that he’ll run a big race in what is another competitive handicap.
Zarib (3.15 Wincanton) is our final runner of the day and I’m very much looking forward to running him. He’s been trained specifically for the race, he’s got bottom weight, the ground won’t bother him and he’s a course and distance winner. Everything looks to be in his favour and he’s ready to roll.
On Sunday, Stephanie Frances is set to make chasing debut for us at Sandown (1.15), provided the ground doesn’t turn too soft. I’ve always thought of her as a high class mare, she jumps fences well at home and I was always going to go chasing with her at some point so why not start now? It’s competitive but if we waited around looking for an uncompetitive novice chase we’d never get a chance to run her.
Our final runner of the weekend is Fouburg who starts off for us in a Juvenile Hurdle at Sandown (1.50). He’s a full-brother to Fou Et Sage who slightly disappointed for us at Cheltenham but he was still a 147 rated juvenile nonetheless. Fouburg had done a lot of pre-training in France before coming to us and we’ve liked what we’ve seen of him at home. It’s not going to be easy for him as he’s an unraced 3YO running against horses with experience but I still think he’ll run nicely.
All the best,