Dan Skelton: “Some Invitation Will Be Over-Priced at Kempton”

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It’s a busy day for the team on Boxing Day so I try to get it as well planned as possible in the week leading up to the day.

You can’t sort it out at the last minute, it’s just impossible. So everyone knows where they are going and it should all work well.

KEMPTON

Solomon Grey runs in the opener at 12.45 with Harry Skelton on board. He is a lovely horse and he’s taken a really good step forward from his two runs over hurdles.

We met If The Cap Fits at Bangor and obviously we have a fair task on to reverse that form but I still think he will run really well. The trip, track and ground is absolutely perfect and he will definitely run well.

I think Some Invitation will be over-priced in the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase (1.55). We really like this horse. Okay, he only won a three runner race the other day, and one fell, but that horse has gone on and won two races since, and we have looked after our horse for this race. We really like him and I think he can out-run his price.

The track and trip is perfect for him. It’s going to be a high tempo novice chase and a horse needs to jump really well and stay really well. They are not going to hang around, they are going to get on with it, and you just need to hang in there. If you jump well enough and travel well enough to still be in contention turning in, then you have to stay. It’s a proper race.

I run Mohaayed in the Christmas Hurdle at 2.30 and I’d like to beat one. I presume Chesterfield won’t run having run on Saturday, so we are going in there assured of at least fourth, and I’d love to be third.

We worked out at an early stage that there were only going to be a handful of runners , so we made the entry and the prize money is decent. We are happy with the horse, he ran well last time, and we can come here and pick up some nice prize money and reset for the spring, when his main targets will be.

The King George looks a good race and I believe it will come down to the big two, Might Bite and Bristol De Mai. Might Bite has had the absolutely perfect preparation and then you look at Bristol De Mai and ask yourself how did he possibly win by so far at Haydock. He just looked invincible that day.

I think it is between these two and I will sit on the fence as to which will actually win.

I honestly don’t think any of the other horses will get close to these two. It’s interesting that if the two met in a handicap Bristol De Mai would have to give Might Bite 11lbs.

We run Whatduhavtoget in the last at 3.40. She ran a good bit better over hurdles the other day. I like her, I’ve always liked her, and I’d really like to win a race like this on Boxing Day for the team that own her.

She’s always looked capable of winning this type of race and her run the other day has benefitted her confidence-wise, and so I think she’s going to be very competitive.

MARKET RASEN

Bridget Andrews heads to Market Rasen where she has three really good rides.

Ashkoul on form looks like the horse to beat in the 12.35. Free Range will definitely be suited by fences and going right handed in the 1.45 and must have a good chance and Focaccia won at the track last time, so should go close again (3:25). All three have obvious chances and Bridget should have a winner and hopefully she’ll have more than one winner.

FONTWELL

Its’Afreebee runs at Fontwell in the 2.35 with Ian Popham on board. We are scratching our heads with him really. The old form just isn’t there at the moment. If the blinkers light him up then he’s going to be dangerous. If they don’t then he isn’t. He hasn’t shown us any form this season.

This horse had some seriously hard races as a youngster. He beat Le Prezien in a ding dong battle up at Haydock. He then finished third in a Neptune Hurdle behind two stars and I maintain that on that day at Cheltenham he gave everything and more.

He stretched the rubber band for us that day beyond where he should stretch it, so we need to treat him correctly and see how he goes, but I do think he’s starting to enjoy it more. With a pair of blinkers on, we are hoping to see some more form but we are still clutching at straws.

SEDGEFIELD

We are putting Lorcan Williams up on both our horses at Sedgefield. He’s with Paul Nicholls and is a good lad. He won on one of ours up at Hereford last Saturday and claims 7lbs which is a handy claim to have. It will definitely help our two here and will give them both near favourites chances.

I had these horses entered everywhere and just selected the races that best suited them. They are going to get less rain up at Sedgefield than anywhere else and the pair of them will be very competitive. Or De Vassy has a favourite’s chance in the 11.55 and should go close.

Jane Lamb runs in the bumper at 3.15 is as hard as coffin nails and was unlucky to get beat the other day. She has the benefit of experience which stands her in good stead and she has a lot in her favour. I’d love to put a one next to her name on Boxing Day in a bumper and then we can go forward from there.

WETHERBY

We run The Mistress in the 12.00. She ran really well up there in a bumper, and has been knocking on the door in those races but she’s a big strong mare so we decided to get on with it over hurdles. It’s a competitive Mares’ Hurdle, it’s not a gimme but she has place chances.

I had originally hard the Warwick Classic on my mind for Get On The Yager but then I thought to myself that there would be fewer runners in this race, The Rowland Meyrick at 2.10, and if he got beat here then he wouldn’t have exactly been going to win at Warwick.

So we’ve decided to take this as his next race, rather than going the full stretch and running in the long distance race just yet. He will have no problem with the trip, the track and the ground will be fine for him, and he has a lovely weight. It’s just whether he can cope being in with these more experienced chasers and we’ll only know that by having a go.

Applesandpierres ran really well last time. I think he’s better left handed, and he’s won at this track. He goes there with a place chance. It’s hard to say he’s going to win, because he’s top weight, but he’s got a chance in the 2.45.

I will be at Kempton, but will be following all our runners. I have them all down on my phone, and make sure that I try and watch them. I will watch them all again when I get back that night.

Dan.

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Dan Skelton

Since starting out on his own, Warwickshire trainer Dan Skelton has assembled one of the most exciting stables in National Hunt racing. Having enjoyed their first Cheltenham Festival success with Superb Story in 2016, Skelton and the team are hungry for more. Get the latest from the Lodge Hill maestro exclusively at Ladbrokes News.