Dan Skelton previews his runners at Ascot, Wetherby and Carlisle
Breaking the record for the earliest century over jumps in a season has been brilliant and has meant a lot to all of us. A lot of effort has gone into the whole summer.
The record just appeared on the horizon about six weeks ago and we started to believe it was possible. The 100 is testament to the fact that the team work so hard day in day out.
Breaking these types of records is an illustration of consistency rather than just a single day of excellence. I couldn’t be prouder of the team.
Obviously it is only the first half of the season out of the way so we’ve now got to keep going. Better horses are coming out and we are really happy with how they are and hopefully we are set for a good winter.
Saturday runners – Ascot
We start Saturday with New Quay in the 1.15 Novices’ Handicap Hurdle at Ascot. He has some nice form from last year.
It took a run to get him started which is just at the back of my mind. He’s a chaser and perhaps the trip is a little short for him.
There are a lot of runners but hopefully he has some sort of each-way chance. There will be more to come from him in the future.
Peppay Le Pugh runs in the 1.50 and he’s been great for us all summer. I wouldn’t know what to expect here. He is a strong traveller and I think he will have a chance.
Shantou Rock in the 2.25 and always goes very well fresh.
I’ve had this race in mind and we are very happy with him. He’s got a high mark to contend with but if can ever do it; it will be when he’s fresh.
In the Sodexo Gold Cup Handicap Chase at 3.35, I run Too Many Diamonds who everyone knows.
He has been fabulous for us. He is taking on the best horses he’s ever taken on here but I give him a chance.
I think the step up to three miles is going to suit him, he is fresh and well, and will love the ground.
So there will be no excuses there. However, we are going into a much deeper pond with him than usual.
We also go to Wetherby on Saturday, where Bridget Andrews rides Goodthyneaway in the Novices’ Hurdle at 12:55.
He looks pretty moderate and will probably win a race in the winter somewhere I imagine.
We then have Workbench in the 1.30 Handicap Chase, who has been great for us over the years. I’d give him a chance in this.
We have freshened him up with a run over hurdles. We have to help his mind now that he’s a little bit older but he seems in good form and I’m sure he’ll like the track.
In the Mares’ Hurdle at 2.05, we have Whatzdjazz. I think two miles it too sharp but it is a small field. I can’t see her troubling the highly rated Lady Buttons and Irish Roe though.
Virgilio runs in the Charlie Hall Chase at 2.40 and again, he’s been a great horse for us. He’s already had a good year, winning two races and won the Summer Cup.
He will love the ground up here. It is a small field and it’s a great opportunity for him to run well in this type of race.
There’s others rated higher than him which we have to respect but if he’s ever going to go well in a race like this, it will be on this ground and at this track. I am looking forward to this one.
High Secret runs in the Hurdle at 3.15. He has been good for us all summer. He won a nice race, placed in a few, and ran ok the other day over two.
Let’s see if he can pick up a few crumbs but realistically we know he’s not going to be winning a race like this.
On Sunday, we go to Carlisle and start with Al Shahir in the Racing UK Chase. He had some good form last year as a hurdler.
It didn’t go right in the EBF Final; he was always going to be a chaser. I just want to see him improve for his first run.
There will be different opportunities for him after this. Getting these novice chasers started is hard but you’ve got to start somewhere.
Ch’Tibello runs in the Handicap Hurdle. We thought we’d try two-and-a-half miles.
He led for a lot of the way at Ffos Las and looked like a bit of a stayer so we said we’ll try him here. He’s obviously in calmer waters but the handicapper needs to relent.
It wasn’t a bad run the others day by the way so we’ll just have to see how he gets on here.
We decided to run Rene’s Girl in the Intermediate Chase before looking at the BetVictor Gold Cup.
There are plenty of horses in this race so it is competitive looking. I think she’s got a chance because she has a mares’ allowance and she’s fit, fresh and well.
She won first time up last year so let’s see how she does against these types of horses. It was a great run to be second in a Grade 1 last time.
She’s improved from last season as a novice coming into her open year. Hopefully she will be really competitive.
Then we have Bergamot in the Bumper. She is new to us. This is a debutant’s race so there all in the same boat with no experience.
She goes ok at home and will hopefully do her talking on the track.
I wouldn’t necessarily say she is the most likely winner in the race as there’ll be a few more sharper bred ones here but having said that she should run nicely.