Harry Skelton previews his weekend and Cheltenham rides

I really enjoyed the Cheltenham preview night at the Grosvenor Casino in Reading on Thursday night. It was a fun panel with Nick Luck, Toby Lawes, Tom Segal and David Williams. There were certainly plenty of laughs. It’s always interesting to hear the different views and opinions of people, and we’re all itching for it to start.

It was nice to get a treble at Uttoxeter on Monday, the horses seem to be in good form at the right time of year. Obviously with Cheltenham around the corner the horses are all doing lots of exercise and schooling. We’re really happy with them and getting excited about the Festival.



Speaking of the Festival, here are a few of the rides I’m looking forward to:

Roksana, Mares’ Hurdle (Tuesday)

She goes for the Mares’ Hurdle and we’ve been very happy with her since her run at Sandown behind Buveur D’Air and Vision Des Flos, she’s really come forward since then. She’s the shortest price of the English mares and hopefully she’ll be going there with a big chance. Benie Des Dieux is going to be very hard to beat, but we haven’t seen her since April and we’ve got to take her on.

Beakstown, Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle (Wednesday)

He won the Leamington Spa at Warwick really well last time and that race has been a good pointer to the Ballymore in the past with the likes of The New One and Willoughby Court doing the double. He’s a real chaser in the making, but we’ve very hopeful of a big run in the Ballymore.

Spiritofthegames, Brown Advisory Plate (Thursday)

We’ve had the Festival in mind for him all year and he should have a good chance in the Plate. He ran very well behind Kildisart at Cheltenham on Trials Day and that’s another race that has had a big bearing on the Festival in recent years. Novices have a good record in the handicap chases at the Festival and hopefully he will run well.

Marracudja, Grand Annual (Friday)

If it’s soft ground, I think he’ll have a decent each-way chance. We’ve had this race in mind for quite some time.

Newbury, Saturday

Betameche – 1:30

Betameche won well last time at Uttoxeter when Bridget rode him. It was nice to get his head in front after he’d showed up well in his bumpers a couple of years ago. It’s been a good team effort to get him back,  as he’s had a lot of problems. We hope that the step up to two and a half miles will bring about some more improvement and we think he’ll go really well.

Milansbar – 2:05

This will be my first time on Milansbar and it’s a nice ride to pick up. He’s a real good stayer and has dropped to a pretty competitive mark. He’s coming into the race fairly fresh and I’d say he’d have an each-way chance in a very open race. The Veterans’ Series has been a fantastic initiative, giving these older horses that are still showing some spark the chance to run.

Azzuri – 2:40

Azzuri has been out of form since he’s come back to us. This looks a very hot race, it’s ultra-competitive. We’re hoping that the step up to two and a half might bring about some improvement, but he’ll need to  improve on what he’s shown so far this season.

We also run Value At Risk in this race. He’s always been quite a talented horse, but is quite hard to catch right. He normally comes good in the spring so it was a nice little surprise when he won in January. Willie Marshall, who rides out at the yard, won on him that day and keeps the ride.

Falcon Sun – 3:10

Since we put the blinkers on Falcon Sun he’s two from two and he’s certainly done nothing wrong on his last two runs. He’s stepping up in class here, which is going to be a slightly different ball game, but he deserves his chance now in a better race.

Antunes – 3:45

The softer the ground the better for Antunes really. He got badly penalised for winning a very moderate race at Uttoxeter. If the rain arrives we’d be hopeful he could sneak into the places off top weight.

Huntingdon, Sunday

I’m banned on Sunday for a day, so Bridget rides our two at Huntingdon. Ferrobin should go well in the novices’ handicap hurdle (2:00). This is his first run back from a wind operation and we’d be hopeful of a good run.

Wedding bells

Bridget and I are getting married in August. The wedding plans are going well and we’re both trying to get as organised as we can before the big day.

The stag do is booked. We’re going skiing in France the week after Cheltenham which will be really fun and a nice short break from racing.




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