Dan Skelton’s Saturday runners at Cheltenham, Doncaster and Uttoxeter

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We have three meetings to look forward to this weekend starting with Cheltenham. Harry Skelton starts off with Spiritofthegames in the big chase (1.50).

We came agonisingly close at the December Meeting and it would be lovely to gain compensation on Saturday. This horse can be a little in and out but he seems in very good form at home and we have every reason to be optimistic. The ground hasn’t dried out as much as we thought it might.

Protektorat runs in the Grade 2 Novices’ Hurdle (3:00). He won a Listed race last time. There are some good horses in this race and it represents a significant step up for him.

It will tell us where our future lies as a novice hurdler this year. If he were to win this we would go for the Ballymore and if he doesn’t, we are looking at the Coral Cup.

Sofia’s Rock runs in the Handicap Hurdle (4.10). We are very happy with him. He is a very honest and genuine horse. He does it all by himself and you don’t have to encourage him. I have been happy with his progress over the winter at home and I feel like he’s got a nice chance.

Then we go to Doncaster where Ferrobin is first up (12.20). He is bang out of form and I just hope it will come at some point. Although it didn’t look like he was about to jump back to form the last day.

Very First Time runs in the Handicap Chase (1.30). He never really got going the other day which was disappointing. Again, he’s a horse who can be a little in and out. It is up to him how he runs. A bit of nicer ground wouldn’t go amiss here and hopefully he is an each-way chance.

Boss Man Fred (2.05) takes on a couple who are higher rated than him but he has done nothing wrong. He has won all his starts and looked quite decent. This race is a gloves off scenario as we have thrown him into the deep end. We are very happy with him.

Cobra De Mai runs in the Sky Bet Chase (3.15). He ran quite nicely the other day and seems to be creeping back into a bit of form. The handicapper battered him for winning a terrible race at Cheltenham in April and put him up to a mark of 153.

He is back down to a more realistic mark now though. Willie Marshall takes 7lbs off and gets on well with him. He will definitely have an each-way chance.  The reason he has been running so badly is because he has been handicapped out of it.

Solomon Grey also runs and is a novice in this race; he is desperate for a step up to three miles and the more drying in the ground the better. Obviously he has got plenty to do to improve to win this but he is a talented horse and comes here quite fresh!

We run two nice mares in the bumper (3.50). Global Harmony has been second in a bumper and Ever So Cool ran quite well last time. That form has worked out quite well at Fakenham. It is nicer ground up here than a lot of other places have been. They are jumpers for the future and we are looking at this with all eyes open.

We have a couple going to Uttoxeter. Cook The Books (1.20) is top rated in this and definitely has a leading chance. It Can Be Done (1.20) gets a lot of weight because she is a 4yo filly. She hasn’t look good enough to win a weight for age yet.

Lastly, Ratoute Yutty runs in the Mares’ Chase (3.05). She has been frustrating and we are finding it hard to win with her. We are back over fences here. She is well handicapped on old form but old form means nothing because she isn’t winning. We need to get her back to form. 

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.