Dan Skelton and his team are ready for the Grand National weekend

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I can’t wait for Aintree to start where we hope to add to the success the yard enjoyed at the Cheltenham Festival. We have the runners capable of doing so.

We start the Grand National meeting on Thursday with Spiritofthegames (1.45) in what is naturally quite a strong race as he is moving up to Grade 1 level.

He carries a good rating into it. La Bague Au Roi is going to be very hard to beat but I would still give Spiritofthegames a chance.

How could you not? I know he is the outsider of the lot but the track will suit him well and so will the trip. There are no negatives.

Ch’tibello (3.25) runs in the big hurdle against the big boys. We’ve been here before with him and he’s not quite made it at this level.

But he is coming into it off the back of a County Hurdle win and in the best form of his life. He is in great form at home. Two and a half miles is not an issue nowadays. We know he could struggle in this company but he could also outrun his odds. He’s in as good a form as I could have him.

Azzuri (4.40) runs in the Red Rum Handicap Chase. He’s down to a more reasonable mark. We’ve done his palate since his last run. He’s got a low weight, which is a real benefit.

My only concern would be the rain, which we didn’t want for him. He ran over two and a half miles last time which I thought was worth a try but it didn’t work out so now he is back at two miles here.

We run two nice mares in the bumper. Emma’s Joy (5.15) probably shouldn’t have run at Warwick last time but she’s in great form. Eyren (5.15) is a four-year-old having her second start.

They will both learn from this. They are good enough to line up here but at the same time we are not a yard associated with winning top bumper races like this. It’s going to be hotly contested and if they can run into a place that would be great.

Dan

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Dan Skelton

Since starting out on his own, Warwickshire trainer Dan Skelton has assembled one of the most exciting stables in National Hunt racing. Having enjoyed their first Cheltenham Festival success with Superb Story in 2016, Skelton and the team are hungry for more. Get the latest from the Lodge Hill maestro exclusively at Ladbrokes News.