Dan Skelton talks Grand National, plus the weekend ahead
Aintree was a good meeting for us. Losing Crucial Role was a very low point but the team bounced back on the Saturday when Roksana was magnificent in defeat.
She is taking big steps forward now and seems better at three miles as well.
Aux Ptits Soins did look a cut above in the first race and Tommy Rapper ran an excellent race to give us a stable one-two.
Then Destrier put up a massively improved performance in the two mile novice so our top end horses have really taken a big step forward in the meetings at Cheltenham and Aintree.
It gives us plenty to look forward to next season when I do feel we will be building a stronger portfolio of graded horses.
We are involved at Ayr on Saturday where we start with Azzuri (1.25) who we fancied at Aintree but had to take him out because the ground was just too soft on the day. It was definitely the right decision.
He comes to Ayr in good form and won at the track last year. He doesn’t have a great big weight and that would definitely give him a chance.
Molly The Dolly (1.55) contests a race we have had her in mind for all season. She loves three miles, better ground is not an issue at all, she is best fresh and we have kept her very fresh for this.
The form of her race at Newbury doesn’t look too bad now with the winner, Magic Of Light, going on to finish second in the Grand National and I give her a chance because we have planned this out.
We have Nube Negra (2.25) in the Scottish Champion Hurdle. Again this has been a long term target, ever since he didn’t run quite so well in the Greatwood at Cheltenham when we thought he would.
I am very happy with him coming into this in which he has a great weight with 10st 7lb.
Solomon Grey (4.10) has had this on his agenda since he ran at Kempton. The ground is good for him, the trip has brought out improvement, as has the tongue strap.
Stowaway Magic (4.45) has been a bit in the doldrums. He won an uncompetitive novice chase at Stratford but hasn’t really got firing. It was a better run from him last time and he will like better ground.
He goes well for William Marshall. I hope he has an each way chance but he has got it to find on form and it is hardly an uncompetitive race.
At Bangor we are going to run Holryale (1.40). He’s been struggling for form. I think the handicapper has got him.
We have two runners at Stratford. Ferrobin (2.05) definitely wants a step up in trip and probably looks better going left-handed. I am looking forward to running him.
Ratoute Yutty (4.20) runs in the mares handicap hurdle. Hopefully it is not a startling race, in which case I would give her a bit of chance.
Things haven’t gone to plan for her this season. She ran really well at Ascot first time. Hopefully with a bit better ground, springtime and the sun on her back, we can get a better result.