Leading National Hunt jockey and Grosvenorsport.com ambassador Harry Skelton shares his thoughts on the latest talking points in the sport, plus looks at all his rides this weekend at Kempton and Carlisle on Saturday and Sunday respectively.
I really was over the moon to win the Kingwell Hurdle on Grand Sancy at Wincanton last Saturday. That was my first win for Paul [Nicholls] for about six years and I really do owe him a lot. He gave me and Dan the perfect starting point to our careers at Ditcheat and it was nice to repay him with a decent win on what was an incredible day for the yard with eight winners.
Grand Sancy is a really gutsy horse and he will definitely go to the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle with an each-way chance. They always go quick in that race and the faster they go the better it will be for this lad.
I’ve ridden a couple of winners this week, but there have been some disappointments as well, not least Anytime Will Do who was bang there when making a bad mistake at the last hurdle at Huntingdon on Thursday.
I managed to stay on him just about but I’m not sure about all the Harry Houdini headlines! It’s always easier to stay on if the horse doesn’t go sideways and you just need to try to keep your balance. I was more frustrated than anything as I think he had a good chance of winning if he’d pinged it. Anyway, that’s racing and we move on.
Not That Fuisse – 1:15
We’re looking forward to running him. He won well at Taunton last month and the track, trip and ground will all suit. He was second to Al Dancer two starts back at Cheltenham and he franked the form at Ascot on Saturday. I’d say my horse has a decent chance in this and I couldn’t put anyone off him.
Protektorat – 2:25
Things didn’t quite go to plan for Protektorat first time at Cheltenham, but he ran well the second time. He suffered for being a bit fresh, he travelled well but just got a bit tired turning in. We’ve been happy with him since and we don’t want to lose our novice status too cheaply. We’ll know more after the race and make a plan from there.
Tokay Dokey – 3:00
Tokay Dokey is three from three and his form has worked out quite well, with plenty of winners behind him in his two races over hurdles this season. He’s got a couple of pounds to find, but we didn’t want to run him under a double penalty. The trip and ground will suit and he’s a horse we’ve always liked. Hopefully he’ll run well in what looks a competitive race.
Romain De Senam – 3:35
It’s great to pick up another ride for Paul. He won last time at Taunton and I’m sure he’ll enjoy going round Kempton. A good, strongly run race is what he wants and he likes good ground. He’s got each-way claims. There’s been a lot of talk about Glen Rocco, who was very impressive last time, but it looks an ultra-competitive handicap.
Bandsman – 4:10
Bandsman is coming back from a break, so it will be nice to get him back on the track. He sustained quite a nasty cut after his last run. Win, lose or draw, I’m sure whatever he does he’ll come on for the run.
Dog Of War – 4:45
He’s a nice horse by Soldier Of Fortune who is making his racecourse debut in the last. He’s had his wind done, so good ground on a flat track hopefully won’t be a problem. It looks a competitive bumper and I’d be hopeful of a nice run, but he’s a jumper in the making.
Ange Des Malberaux – 2:40
I obviously can’t be in two places at once, so my girlfriend Bridget will be going up to Newcastle to ride Ange Des Malberaux in the Eider Chase. She won the Lincolnshire National at Market Rasen on him on Boxing Day and he was then very good last time at Warwick. All he has done is improve and he looks absolutely fantastic. He’s got a lovely racing weight and although you can never be sure if they’ll stay four miles, we hope he will. I think he goes there with a nice chance.
Allonok – 3:10
We’ve always thought quite a lot of Allonok but mentally he’s very much a baby. This will be his first start over hurdles. He’s been quite keen in his bumpers and hopefully he’ll learn plenty from the experience.
Red Rising – 3:45
Red Rising ran well behind Vinndication here at the start of the season and I think the track and trip will suit him. We’re trying him in cheekpieces, he looks competitively weighted and there don’t seem to be too many negatives.
Prussia With Love – 5:15
This daughter of Presenting, Prussia With Love is making her racecourse debut and as she’s owned by our father, the pressure is on! She’s shown enough at home and we hope she can run a promising race. Decent ground will suit her as a Presenting filly.