Grosvenorsport.com ambassador and leading National Hunt jockey Harry Skelton looks ahead to this weekend’s racing at Ascot, Haydock, Huntingdon and Uttoxeter.
We were delighted with Allmankind last Saturday. Running at Warwick a fortnight ago helped him settle a bit better at Cheltenham. He jumped well and to do that around there on only his second start over hurdles was a very good effort – you couldn’t fault him.
We gave him a wind op when he first came to us and that has helped him to relax. He’s going the right way now and we can make a plan from here.
Redzor ran well behind Wholestone in the novice chase, he was giving weight to a few of those around him. He’ll be eligible for handicaps after one more run which will open up the doors for the spring.
You’d have to say Spiritofthegames was disappointing and we really don’t know why. I suppose he is on quite a high mark and we just have to hope he can put that run behind him. Hopefully he’ll come right in the spring if the handicapper gives in a bit.
Humble Hero travelled well to the top of the hill in the Greatwood but didn’t come down it at all on the ground. He’ll be one for handicap hurdles when the ground is better.
Frisson Collonges – 12:20
He disappointed at Aintree last time, he went out very quickly. We don’t know why, but he’s been given lots of time and shows plenty of ability at home. We’re putting on a tongue tie on Saturday which will hopefully help.
Solomon Grey – 2:05
It’s going to be a great race between the big two and obviously, we’re hoping to get a nice clear round and pick up some decent prize money.
There isn’t much between them on ratings, but Cyrname has to improve while Altior has been there and done it. It’s going to be very hard to beat him.
That said, Cyrname was very impressive when winning the Ascot Chase, he loves it round there, and if he’s ever going to beat him this will most likely be the day.
I know some people are worried about the trip for Altior, but the way he races now it looks like he’ll get it. I don’t think that will be a problem anyway.
Roksana – 2:40
She has come out of the Aintree race really well. We had her in here and at Kempton on Monday, but we were worried that if they didn’t get the rain there the ground would go against her.
This race is worth plenty of money and she’s getting 7lbs from If The Cap Fits. She’s in great form and we’re very hopeful that she’ll run a big race.
Marracudja – 3:20
He ran well in this race last year to be third and this has been the main target for him. He’s come on with each run and we couldn’t have him any better at home.
The ground will be fine for him and he has a lovely racing weight, there are no negatives. Look, it’s a very competitive handicap but this is his day and let’s hope he can run well.
Quiet Flow – 3:50
This is a horse we really like, he’s shown plenty of ability at home and we’re really looking forward to running him. We don’t have many bumper winners, but he’s a half-brother to Solomon Grey and he’s one we like for the future. These Ascot bumpers are always very hot, though.
Gortroe Joe and Falcon Sun – 1:50
Gortroe Joe ran well last time at Wetherby and if he steps forward a bit from that, he should run a big race. Trip and ground should both be fine for him.
Falcon Sun ran a cracker behind Benny’s Bridge at Cheltenham last month. He has no weight on his back and he should run well as well. They’ve both got each-way chances.
Flash The Steel and Diomede Des Mottes – 2:25
Ever since Flash The Steel won at Chepstow in October this has been the plan. He’s in really good form at home and that Chepstow race has worked out really well.
We’re very happy with him and he has a live chance, but it’s a red-hot race which is what you’d expect given the prize money.
Diomede Des Mottes has been very consistent which has been nice to see. He will be fine with the trip and the 7lbs off his back will help him. He also has each-way claims.
Betfair Chase – 3:00
We don’t have a runner in the big race and even though there are only four, you could make a case for all of them. Lostintranslation was very good at Carlisle but he now has to step up.
Bristol De Mai is the class act of the race and has been there and done it before. Ballyoptic stays all day and was very good in the Charlie Hall, while Frodon has won a Ryanair. It should be a great race to watch.
Soyouthinksoagain – 12:30
He ran well in two bumpers and makes his first start over hurdles. There’s quite a big field here and this is a horse for the long term.
Faivoir – 3:25
This is a nice horse who won a point-to-point in April. We fully expect him to run very well in this.
Idee De Garde – 1:10
He just got done on the line over course and distance last time and he’s come on since then. Hopefully he will take a bit of beating.
Molly Ollys Wishes – 1:40
She ran very well here last time when quite keen and I hope she is bang there at the finish as well.