Grosvenorsport.com ambassador and leading National Hunt jockey Harry Skelton looks back at his week in the saddle, plus gives us the lowdown of all his rides this weekend at Chepstow and Newton Abbot.
It’s been a good week and nice to get a few more winners on the board. I’ve ridden quite a few seconds, which is always a bit frustrating, but the horses are running really well and that’s the main thing.
We were really happy with Tommy Rapper at Fontwell last Sunday, it was great to get his first win over fences. We’ll probably go for another small novice chase with a penalty somewhere next, but we might have a look at the old Hennessy [Ladbrokes Trophy] after that.
He’s got some good handicap hurdle form and has plenty of experience over the smaller obstacles. He was a very good second to Aux Ptit Soins at the Grand National meeting and I think he’s ready for the bigger races now, we’ve given him plenty of time.
He’s owned by Judy Cramer and my Dad, so there’s no pressure at all as to where we go. He loves soft ground and a strongly run race over three miles plus will suit. We’ll see how he gets on in his next novice chase before making any decision about Newbury.
In terms of other plans, Spiritofthegames is being aimed at the BetVictor Gold Cup at Cheltenham’s Open Meeting. He goes very well fresh and is in really good form at home, so he’ll go straight there. He ran a cracker when third in the Plate at the Festival in March.
At the moment, Humble Hero is the one we’ve got for the Greatwood. He had some decent form on the Flat and did well in his novice hurdling season. The form of those runs has worked out pretty well.
He loves a fast pace and I think these sort of races will suit him. He’s due to have a run in a fortnight at Ludlow before going on to Cheltenham next month.
It’s an exciting time of year, we’ve got around 150 horses in the yard and the quality is getting better each year. We’re looking forward to running some nice young horses over the coming months. They all seem in good health which is nice to see.
Chepstow is the first big weekend at a winter course and with all the rain we’ve had, it’s going to be pretty testing on Saturday.
Gortroe Joe – 2:45
We run three in the two-mile handicap hurdle and I’m on Gortroe Joe who is rated a bit lower over hurdles than fences. He can be a little bit in and out, but he ran okay at Uttoxeter last time. I’d say I’d be hopeful rather than confident.
Bridget [Andrews] rides Peter The Mayo Man and he’s been off the track for quite a long time so I’m sure he’ll improve for this. We’re looking forward to getting him going again win, lose or draw.
Northofthewall is a nice horse and looks to have an each-way chance. He is going for a conditional jockeys’ race at Ascot next month which is why William Marshall is riding him.
Captain Chaos – 3:20
Captain Chaos is having his first start since finishing sixth in the Kim Muir at the Festival in March, which was a good effort. He’ll like the ground and has been in good form at home, although he normally takes a couple of runs to get going. No more than an each-way chance.
Flash The Steel – 4:30
The Silver Trophy is always an ultra-competitive race and we were lucky enough to win it with Shelford five years ago.
Flash The Steel ran well at Sandown and Cheltenham last season when there was plenty of cut in the ground. Stepping up to two and a half miles will suit and I’d be hopeful of a good run. All of mine have each-way chances on Saturday, but I’d say he would have the best one.
Marracudja – 5:05
Marracudja also seems very well at home but is another who normally takes a few runs to get to top form. I expect he’ll improve for the run on his first start since April.
Newton Abbot, Sunday
There’s a precautionary inspection on Saturday morning due to heavy rain, but hopefully, it will get the green light.
Milan’s Society – 2:20
Milan’s Society made his debut for us at Warwick last week, but he’s a big baby and needs plenty of time. Races like this are a good experience for him and he’ll improve with racing.
Annie Angel – 2:55
We’ve been delighted with Annie Angel since she joined us in the summer. She’s won her last three and will love the ground. She looks to have a good chance, so fingers crossed the meeting gets the go-ahead.