Harry Skelton | Spiritofthegames should run well in opener

Grosvenorsport.com ambassador and Cheltenham Festival Grade One winner Harry Skelton previews the first day of the Grand National meeting at Aintree. We have another important three days ahead of us at Aintree where we will be hoping to take the momentum of a successful Cheltenham Festival into the Grand National meeting.

Even though I don’t have a ride in the Grand National itself, there are plenty of good rides to look forward to, including today when County Hurdle Ch’tibello tackles the Aintree Hurdle.

Spiritofthegames – 1.45

We have been keeping a close eye on this race and with Defi Du Seuil not running it now opens up. This is why we are taking our chance with Spiritofthegames. He has come out of Cheltenham fine. He should run well but has to step up on what he’s done so far in handicaps.

Dan and I thought he handled soft ground but he won at Chepstow at the start of the season on pretty good ground so maybe some spring ground could bring out a bit more improvement.


I thought Band Of Outlaws was quite impressive in winning the Fred Winter at Cheltenham but now he is up against Triumph Hurdle winner Pentland Hills and it is likely to be between the pair of them.


Kemboy unseated at the first in the Cheltenham Gold Cup and with all the others having hard races he may be the fresher horse and worth taking a chance on at the prices.

Ch’tibello – 3.25

Ch’tibello was very good in winning the County Hurdle at Cheltenham. He is now stepping back up into Grade 1 company. It is going to be a very difficult race against these top horses. The top two milers meet some of the top three milers so it’s going to be hard, but he goes into the race in very good order.


Jack Andrews, Bridget’s brother, has a ride on Just Cause so I will be hoping he has a good spin round in the Foxhunters’.

Azzuri – 4.40

When Azzuri came back from Ireland he took time to get going and has been a bit disappointing in his three runs. At home he wasn’t really sparking either. After his last run Dan thought something was preventing him finishing his race out so why don’t we give him a soft palate operation. He is dropping back to two miles on nice ground as well and hopefully the wind surgery can put him back on track.

Emma’s Joy – 5.15

You can put a line through her last run. Emma’s Joy was way too fresh and it was quite soon after having a flu vaccination. On her previous run she has an each way chance. She has been working well

Eyren – 5.15

Bridget rides Eyren who won real nicely at Doncaster. This is a massive step up again but there is not much between her and Emma’s Joy.




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