Dan Skelton’s team go at Kempton, Chepstow, Newcastle and Carlisle
We have a busy weekend in store with runners at three meetings on Saturday and we are sending a team to Carlisle on Sunday as well.
We begin at Kempton where Not That Fuisse (1.15) is our first runner of the day. I was very happy with his last run at Taunton where he showed a good attitude to get up and win.
He looks progressive at this trip but this is a much deeper race. He holds some Cheltenham handicap entries and will need to win this to get in there but he would have to have a fair chance.
Protektorat (2.25) runs in what looks quite a deep juvenile hurdle. I was happy with 90 per cent of his race at Cheltenham last time but he paid the price for trying to go with the winner at the top of the hill and so faded out of things in the last furlong and a half.
But I think that run won’t be lost on him and there will be a good improvement from him because of that experience. I’m not saying he will win this but I do think he will run well.
Tokay Dokey (3.00) has won two standard novice hurdles and is undefeated. He takes a big step up in grade here but he needs to take that step.
He has an entry in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and he would have to go very close to warrant a run in that. But that’s why we are running him. We want to see how he fares at this better level.
I love the horse and think he will make a right chaser next year as much as anything. He has done nothing wrong so far and is learning all the time. I would like to think he has strengthened up during the time he has not been racing.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see him go really well but this is as about as deep a novice hurdle as there has been all year.
Bandsman (4.10) is having his first run back after a bit of a layoff. He struck into himself when he last ran.
He is a horse that has to run without hind shoes so would have needed special dispensation to run had the BHA implemented a rule requiring all runners to race in shoes.
He has jumped nicely at home. I don’t think he is very well handicapped but we have got to start somewhere.
We introduce Dog Of War (4.45) in the bumper. He is a really well bred and scopey horse. He’s done everything right at home and now we need to get him out on the track to see how he fares.
He is going to be a jumper. He is not a stand out bumper horse, but he has been in a long time, done plenty of work, will like nice ground and we are delighted to get him started.
We have two runners at Chepstow. Stowaway Magic (1.55) has had a wind op because we were scratching our heads with him.
As far as I’m concerned the handicapper has him in a severe grip. As a result we are taking 10lb off to try to get some weight off him but I still think it is going to be hard for him.
Tommy Rapper (3.40) is going back over hurdles after a bit of an interrupted season. I wanted to stick to chasing really but he wasn’t quite right after Bangor and we have run out of time to make him a chaser this year.
He ran well over hurdles last year, winning a couple of novices and a competitive handicap. I can see him running well but again I don’t think he is particularly well handicapped.
Our only runner at Newcastle is Ange Des Malberaux (2.40) who I was delighted to see get into the Eider Chase as this has been a long term plan.
He has a low weight and I don’t think stamina will be a particular issue. He has to get four miles but jumps well and I am really looking forward to running him.
We have four at Carlisle starting with Rocku (2.10) who runs in the conditionals race under Willie Marshall.
He has run okay on his only starts for us. He wouldn’t strike you as a horse that is really well handicapped but a little drop in trip is no negative and he gets a chunk of weight off as well.
Hopefully with 10lb off he is as competitive as he has been up to now and I would love to see him go and win.
I have been a bit disappointed with Allonok (3.10) who I thought would be a precocious type who was ready to hit the road straightaway. He hasn’t been like that at all.
I have concluded that he is a horse that will need time. He is a big, scopey horse and hopefully time will be his friend.
Red Rising (3.45) has been a bit frustrating because his season hasn’t really ignited. On last year’s form I thought he would set off in the autumn and have a really productive season.
I have put cheekpieces on him here. He will love the trip and ran well at the track back in the autumn over two and a half. Three miles is obviously better for him.
The handicapper has given him back a bit and he does look like he is returning to a bit of form at home so we are more optimistic than we have been lately.
Prussia With Love (5.15) is a lovely presenting mare. I am sure she will run well.
I am not sure she is bumper horse and I am looking forward to see her over hurdles next season but we have to get her started first.