Harry Skelton: The Debrief

Monday, January 10
Knickerbockerglory did it impressively at Taunton. It was a slight change of tactics to make the running and they seemed to work well. How strong a race it was I don’t know, but he has got plenty of ability and things are coming together nicely. There are a couple of options for him, a Graded race up at Kelso and he also has an entry in the Betfair Hurdle. We’ll have to see but those are the two races we have in mind at the moment.

Yvette Guilbert ran a promising race when just weakening out of it from the back of the last. I think that is down to her lacking a bit of strength, as she’s only a young mare and on that ground the last 100 yards just caught her out a little bit. It was a good run though and I’m sure she’ll be winning races soon.

Tuesday, January 11
We were very happy with Beakstown, it was a good run and much more like it. He jumped well and kept galloping all the way to the line. He’s still a novice over fences so we’ve got plenty of options. I think we met a very good horse in Erne River.

Wednesday, January 12
Sail Away ran nicely at Leicester where he bumped into a high-class prospect in Dusart. That was a first run back after a wind operation for Sail Away and he finished his race out well. All in all, it was a good run.

Thursday, January 13
Reilly was very disappointing and clearly wasn’t himself at Bangor. The horses have had their flu jabs around the Christmas period and something like that might be to blame for a very poor run. He hasn’t run his race at all so put a line through that and we’ll have him back in the spring after a bit of a break.

Friday, January 14
Frere D’Armes did it nicely at Huntingdon. He’s a very straightforward horse and has been a pleasure to deal with at home. We’re not sure where we’ll go next, but we might look for a step up in class somewhere. He looks a nice horse for the future.

Saturday, January 15
Greatest Star ran nicely at Warwick when just bumping into a well-handicapped horse of Fergal O’Brien’s. I think he’ll be better on nicer ground as well so when we get into spring, possibly with a step up to two and a half miles, he should do well. He’s a well-handicapped horse as well, so he’s one to keep an eye on.

Fast Buck ran okay, but it was a small and competitive race, with some good horses in there. We were happy enough with his run, we’ll give him a drop-in class now and try to find the right race for him. It can be quite hard to find some of these races, but we’ll get him in as low a class as he can run in. Very soft ground will help him, and hopefully we can get his head in front soon.

We were a bit disappointed with Viva Lavilla.He travelled through the race well and looked like he was going very well three out, but then just didn’t finish his race off. He’s a big horse, with a big frame and he’s probably just on the weak side. He had a hard enough race at Sandown the time before and had a flu jab between then and running at Warwick on Saturday, so that might have taken its toll. I think he’s better than that, but all in all the winner was very good. We’ll give him a good break now before another run. He’s ultimately a chaser in the making.

It was a bit unfortunate with what happened with Padleyourowncanoe.He made a mistake at the second and I managed to stay on, but when I went to gather up my reins, they weren’t there! He had actually put both of his feet through the reins, so it was a bit of a hairy moment. Luckily, I managed to stay on board and pulled him up quickly. We’ll find another race for him and he’ll be out again soon.

Riggs was very disappointing in the Pertemps qualifier. He just seemed to stop to nothing after turning into the home straight. I don’t know what the reason was but hopefully something comes to light.

Sunday, January 16
Over at Punchestown, Dysart Dynamo was very impressive. To win like that on the bridle, you couldn’t help but be very impressed. He beat a horse that was placed in a Graded race in England and did so ‘pulling a train’. I think come Cheltenham we’re all going to have to up our game again.


Bob Olinger
did it well, jumped nicely and was well on top in the end. I’m sure connections will have been delighted with him.

Next week
A few runners this week. The card at Lingfield on Friday has some very good prize money on offer. Eclair D’Ainay will take his chance in the two-mile handicap chase. He’ll love conditions and he’s in good form.

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