Dan Skelton talks Friday racing and the Coral Welsh Grand National
We are not quite so busy on Friday as Boxing Day but we have Harry at Chepstow where we have Cook The Books (12.30) in a maiden hurdle.
He went backwards last time but as it was his second run after a long layoff he could have been a victim of the old ‘bounce factor’, which is not ideal.
This is a very deep race with a lot of runners in it so hopefully he can pick up a place, but I wouldn’t be expecting fireworks.
The same could be said for One For Billy (1.05) having his first run back after a long layoff. I have done as much work as I can with him and the ground is going to be very soft, which he hasn’t shown his best form on, but I’ve got to get him started.
Allmankind (1.35) runs in the Finale Hurdle and I would be expecting plenty from him. He won a Grade 2 the other day, this is a Grade 1 in which he doesn’t carry a penalty.
Joseph O’Brien brings one over from Ireland which is going to complicate matters a little bit, but Allmankind has some great form in the book and I am very happy with him. He shouldn’t have a problem with the ground, trip or track.
Captain Chaos (2.50) runs in the Welsh National. I plumped for this horse because he has no weight, goes in real bad ground and I think it is time for a step up in trip.
His owners, Mike and Eileen, and I have always wanted to go over a big trip with him one day and now feels like the right time.
Clondaw Anchor (3.25) runs in the novices’ handicap chase and I think he has a big chance in this. He will love the ground, love the track and he runs off his handicap mark so it’s not like he is a winner giving away a penalty.
I run The Rosary Flyer (3.55) in the bumper and he is a nice horse. We took him out of a race the other day. The ground is frustrating. He will obviously want better ground than this so whether he can go on it we will have to see.
If it bucketed down and it became heavy and sloppy we might consider not running again. If it’s what they say it is he will probably take his chance.
My suspicion is they will probably want better ground. I know there is lots of rain coming but Kempton is a sandy track and hopefully the ground will be better there than anywhere else.
We have two up at Wetherby in the Castleford Chase where Azzurri (2.05) is having his first run back for a while.
He wants a bit better ground but he is a stalwart and a standing dish in these types of two mile handicap chases. We gave him a run over hurdles to see how his mark compares, but he is not a hurdler.
Bridget rides Marracudja (2.05) in this race. They were third in a big race at Ascot last year so know each other well. We fancied him a bit last time but it wasn’t to be.