Harry Skelton reflects on a memorable first day with his dramatic win on Roksana in the Mares’ Hurdle, and looks ahead to Day Two at the Cheltenham Festival.
There is no better feeling than to win our first Grade One race at the Cheltenham Festival, it means the world.
It’s been a long year but when you pick up a Festival winner then it makes all the hard work, from all our team, worth it.
We benefited from what happened at the last with Ruby but that is jump racing and when you are in the mix at the last, anything can happen and luck was definitely on our side yesterday. On this occasion we have come out on top, but on another day it could have gone the other way.
Beakstown – 1:30
I am really looking forward to riding Beakstown. He is probably the best ride I have ever had in a novice championship race at the Festival. He has been training really well and has stepped forward again since his win at Warwick.
There are not too many negatives to be honest. I just hope they don’t get too much rain. Soft ground would be fine, but if it went the other side of that, it would be a bit of a worry for us as well as a number of other people. I think he will run a big race.
I don’t have a ride in the RSA Chase but Delta Work is a horse that has done nothing wrong. He has won at the Festival before and that is often a key factor here.
Paul Nicholls has been very sweet on Topofthegame and soft ground and a test of stamina like the RSA provides should be more up his street than Kempton which was probably a bit sharp for him. I feel he will be the best of the English.
Knight In Dubai – 2:50
We have been training Knight In Dubai for this race ever since he fell when running over fences at Cheltenham back in October.
He got held up a bit by a nasty cut but he went back over hurdles at Newbury where he was probably only 85-90 per cent fit and ready, yet he was still only beaten by a nose.
I would like to think he would have a good chance. He has been going really well at home. The ground should be no problem so he should run a good race at a nice each-way price.
What more is there to say about the Queen Mother Champion Chase. Altior is the defending champion and comes into the race with a perfect record of 12 wins from 12 runs over fences.
Hopefully with a clear round Altior will win again, but if there is a horse that is worth an each-way bet I think it could be Hell’s Kitchen who looks a horse on the up on the evidence of his handicap win at Ascot.
4.50 – King D’Argent
King D’Argent is another horse we have kept fresh for Cheltenham. He did nothing wrong winning first time out at Wetherby, then finishing third in a Listed hurdle at the same track.
He then went on to finish second to Adjali at Market Rasen, which is good form. He has undergone a wind operation since and in an ultra-competitive race, I am sure he can run well at an each-way price.
Willie Mullins relies on only one runner Blue Sari and he has been bought by J P McManus. That’s probably a tip in itself. He was very impressive on his racecourse debut at Gowran Park in January.
I also think the Colin Tizzard horse Master Debonair can run well. He is a hardy horse and could be good value against the top two in the market having run twice already at Cheltenham, including in November when he won a Listed Bumper. He will certainly be streetwise enough.