Harry Skelton: The Debrief

Thursday 3rd

Knickerbockerglory was much better at Ludlow and it was great to get back on track with him. Soft ground and a sharp two miles really seemed to suit him. He has got an engine and hopefully things are falling into place. He can be a decent horse in time.

Friday 4th

I think Boombawn bumped into quite a good horse in Call Of The Wild. Our horse probably would like a bit better going as the ground at Doncaster was quite testing. That run might just bring him on again and he’ll be out again in about three weeks’ time. On a bit of spring ground, hopefully he can go one better.

I got into a good rhythm up front on Across The Line but he didn’t quite see out the two-and-a-half-miles. He’s quite a deceiving horse as he gives us the impression that he can stay further, but I don’t think he can. Two miles is his trip and we’ll drop him back in distance next time.

Notnowlinda ran a fine race at Newbury. She stayed on well and showed a fine attitude. She’s now learnt to race properly – settling well, travelling into the race and then galloping out to the line – which is what we like to see from our bumper horses. I don’t think she’ll have another run now and we’ll look forward to her going hurdling in the autumn.

Saturday 5th

Kelso put on some great prize money on Saturday, and they deserved the support that they got. With all the main races going to northern yards it shows that they’re plenty of good horses up in the north. All the races were very competitive and it’s good for National Hunt racing to have quality horses spread around the country.

Sholokjack moved into the race quite nicely. He probably found the track a little bit sharp for him and his rivals quickened away from him from two out. While the two races he won before had been over two miles, they rode more like staying races as they were run on big, galloping tracks on soft ground. He won’t run again this season. We see him as very much a chaser and he’s one to keep an eye out for.

Wilde About Oscar was disappointing once again. I can’t really work out why as he’s been going nicely at home, but he’s just not showing it on the track. Perhaps two-miles-four-furlongs is stretching his stamina a bit. He did so well last season and we could be paying the price for that now.

Faivoir ran a fantastic race again to finish third in the Morebattle. He always turns up and gives his best. We’ll keep the County Hurdle in mind for him.

At Doncaster, things didn’t quite go to plan with Get A Tonic as she drifted left-handed under pressure late on and that meant she threw the race away. It’s something she has done in her races previously, but not quite as badly as she did there. It’s quite frustrating but that’s racing and we know we’ve got a good mare on our hands for next year.

King D’Argent’s race sort of fell apart and it opened up a bit soon for him. Hemade a mistake at the last, which probably just cost him the win. It’s another one that got away. It shows that he’s in good form, though, on ground that wouldn’t be ideal for him. Hopefully he’ll be winning soon on better ground.

It was great to see Duke Of Bronte win impressively. Bridget really liked him when she rode him at Fontwell. He came forward nicely from that run and looked to love the ground. You can see he’s got quite a high knee action, so he handled the soft conditions and powered on really nicely in the home straight. He was a high-class horse on the Flat and if he can transfer that ability he should have a good career over hurdles. I think we’ll take a step up in class somewhere next time, but nothing is confirmed yet.

Sunday 6th

Go Steady probably ran as well as he can at Huntingdon. He’s 10-years-old now and isn’t an improving horse. The handicapper has just got hold of him. He ran a good race, but until the handicapper relents a bit you won’t be seeing him winning again.

It was an encouraging run from Steal My Sunshine. He stayed on all the way to the line, which was nice to see. He’s by Black Sam Bellamy whose progeny generally take time to develop and have plenty of stamina, so he won’t be seen at his best yet. You won’t see him again this season and we’ll give him the time that he needs.

This week

Greatest Star runs tomorrow at Newcastle in a two-mile handicap hurdle and looks capable of improving on his latest effort.

Cheltenham updates

I’m only riding on Monday and Tuesday before heading to Sandown on Saturday. That’s just because the right races for the horses aren’t really there at this time and much of the focus is on next week.

All our Cheltenham horses are in good form. There’s nothing much more you can do for them now before the Festival. They should all be at full fitness, which was probably reached about three weeks ago. From now the task is just to keep them ticking over and ensure they are fresh and well. It’ll just be routine canters for them this week and they’ll probably all school as well.

I think Cheltenham deserves and needs all the hype it gets because it’s our Olympics. It’s an exciting time, everyone at the yard is looking forward to next week and to have a winner would be very, very special.








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