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StableTalk: “One of our best chances of the week comes in the final race on Day One”

| 15.03.2016

After walking the course earlier this morning, I have found it is predominantly Good-to-Soft in my opinion, Soft in a few areas. By Wednesday it could be Good. They have done an outstanding job getting the grass coming through with the weather, the team at Cheltenham can’t be applauded enough. I passed on my appreciation to Simon Claisse, the Clerk of the Course, and he said they have had enough practice at it!

Supreme Novices’ Hurdle – 1.30pm
Horse Racing - The Showcase - Day One - Cheltenham Racecourse

My two in the Supreme, North Hill Harvey and Mister Miyagi have a bit to find but they have both been in good form. Mister Miyagi has been kept fresh for this and has won at the track. He needs the ground as Good as possible. North Hill Harvey won over two miles around the other track in December. I think he will travel and jump well and it is not out of the realms of possibility for both of them to run a big race.

It was a difficult decision for Harry to pick between the two of them. We made riding decisions last week and we have stuck with them.

Arkle – 2.10pm

I don’t have a runner in the Arkle where I really cannot see any other outcome other than a Douvan win.

Champion Hurdle – 3.30pm

Anyone who makes a case for a horse in the Champion Hurdle, I can make a case against it, it’s that sort of a race this year. There are pros and cons for all the horses in the field. If it was right-handed track, The New One would be a certainty. He is a genuine Grade One horse and there is no Faugheen here for him to worry about.

Annie Power might be better than the rest but it’s all on trust and what might happen so the short price about her is risky. It’s not to say she won’t win but then it’s not to say any of the others won’t win.

Mares’ Hurdle – 4.10pm
Stephanie Frances

I have two chances in the Mares’ Hurdle with Stephanie Frances and Fairytale Theatre. At the time of declaration I was thinking it wasn’t going to be soft enough for Fairytale Theatre and not good enough for Steph. The way the ground is going to be, I think it is really going to suit Steph. She’s got to get the trip though, something she has not tried before. She could come to the last and look like she is going to win and then fade. On breeding she will get it but until they do it, you are never sure.

There seems to be no holes in the favourite Vroum Vroum Mag, and I think she will be difficult to beat.

Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase – 5.30pm

One of our best chances of the week comes in the final race on day one with Willow’s Saviour. It is a very compressed handicap and we are very happy with him going into the race. The trip will suit, and he’s better going left-handed than right-handed. He just needs a bit of luck in running and hopefully he is the best handicapped in the race. I’m really sweet on him. Everyone needs luck in big handicaps as they are all going to have something in hand, it’s a case of who has the most. I have a lot of respect for Aloomomo and Bouvreuil. It’s obviously a really competitive race. The good thing about it is you can’t hide in the race. The fact that you can’t even get in off a mark of 132 says it all.

Fancy any of Dan’s horses to land the spoils on Day One of this year’s Cheltenham Festival? Then head to Coral and back his runners with us! 

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Dan Skelton

Dan has worked with horses for his whole life and spent nine years as Assistant Trainer to Champion National Hunt Trainer Paul Nicholls. With that invaluable experience under his belt, he has embarked on his own training career and now has almost 200 winners under his belt, including Willow’s Saviour’s memorable victory in the 2013 Ladbroke Hurdle at Ascot. Dan will be providing a unique insight into his horses and their chances exclusively for Coral.