Dan Skelton previews his runners on Boxing Day
We’re number one at Christmas, thanks to Mohaayed winning the big handicap hurdle at Ascot, top of the trainers’ championship! What a magic way to go into the Christmas period.
He was our only runner on Saturday so I travelled to Ascot late. Paul Nicholls texted me after he had had two winners to say, ‘I’m back in front. Thanks for keeping the seat warm!’ Then ten minutes later he texted again to say, ‘Now I’ve sent that, you’ll probably win the last and go back in front!’.
Mohaayed has been a star horse and he won what has been a special race for us as we won it our first season, when it was still known as the Ladbroke Hurdle, with Willow’s Saviour who beat one of Paul’s actually.
I would imagine our time at the top will last not much longer than midway through racing on Boxing Day! But we will do our best to keep up the momentum with 15 runners spread across four meetings.
No Hassle Hoff (1.15) can’t be in a more competitive staying novices’ chase. His run style is to be dropped out and pick up some pieces. He will be the outsider of the lot and we are very clear about the size of the task he faces but Daryl Jacob can get to know him some more and then I am sure things can open up for him after the new year.
Stowaway Magic (3.40) has won for us over fences. I thought it would be worth a try back over hurdles and I think the trip will be ideal for him. Off his mark he doesn’t look well handicapped but I haven’t run him over hurdles and maybe he will prefer them. But really I would recommend a watching brief.
Harry is heading up to Wetherby where we will have six runners. Sounds Of Italy (12.30) has won two for us over a staying trip and I think he will love this track as well as a bit of soft ground. I think he has an obvious chance in this grade.
No Getaway (1.00) is a half-brother to One For Arthur so he is going to be a staying chaser in time. There is going to be a lot of road to drive up before we get to that point though. This is the perfect type of race for him but he needs to step up on what he’s done so far. Long term he could be a nice staying chaser.
Get On The Yager (1.35) has been a great horse for us and won the Rowland Meyrick on this card last year. He had a little injury in the autumn. We haven’t rushed him and he is ready for this. We started over two and half miles last year and I think this is a good starting point.
Captain Chaos (2.10) is our representative this time in the Rowland Meyrick. We’ve had this race in mind for him for a bit. He’s won round the track before. I think it’s a pretty strong renewal. How it compares to the race he ran in last time, I’m not sure, but he takes on Lake View Lad again and should be thereabouts at the finish. He’s been in good form since.
I thought we would win a race with Miss Spent (2.45) and we have won two with her. Winning a third is going to be difficult to be totally honest. But she will love the track and if they go a fast clip that could bring her into play.
Global Ruler (3.20) is dropping back in trip. We always felt he wanted a bit further but he shaped a like a non-stayer last time. He is handicapped to win but I am a bit frustrated it hasn’t happened for him yet.
We send five to Market Rasen headed by our grand servant Savello (1.10). He is getting on in years and hasn’t won for a while but he has been running competitively. I hope the ground is soft so he would have a leading chance. He is in the right grade now, Bridget has won on him before and I’ve got to think he can be competitive.
Bennys King (1.45) was given a great ride by Bridget to win last time. Hopefully he can progress as a chaser. The only negative would be that he is having his second run after a long lay off. He’s been really well at home since but sometimes there is a bounce factor. It happened the other day with Yorkist. Why it happens, nobody knows, but it can happen and that would be the one thing I have in the back of my mind.
Ange Des Malberaux (2.20) can be a player in his race where the ground should be no problem.
Cock A Doodle Do (2.55) has looked badly handicapped and doesn’t appear to have improved any at home.
Gold Chain (3.30) has a chance. She won well the other day, admittedly perhaps not in a very competitive race.
Premier Rose (12.15) runs at Fontwell. A bit like Miss Spent, who we hoped to win a race with, Premier Rose has won three. We might be asking too much to win another but we are going to give it a go. Premier Rose, Miss Spent and Gold Chain will all be off to stud pretty soon.
West To The Bridge (1.15) won the other day in surprising circumstances. I’m not sure whether his handicap mark is justified but he will always put his best foot forward because he is keen. I would have to give him a chance because the race has cut up a bit.
Of all the runners I would say Gold Chain would be our best chance.
We will be at home on Christmas Day. We will ride out our Boxing Day runners first thing and then everyone will head off for a relaxing day. We will feed the horses in the evening and then dream about having winners on Boxing Day.