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StableTalk: “The race should be run to suit him so there are lots of positives”

| 16.03.2016

It was always a probability that Vautour would run in the Ryanair Chase as he had been declared for the race at every declaration stage so today’s announcement is not too much of a surprise. If I was training the horse, I would have gone for the Ryanair, so saying he was never running in public did surprise me when the Mullins camp leave it open until the last minute. He was always the best horse in the race and he was probably always going to turn up so we should never have discounted that. It was never going to be Al Ferof’s race to lose, it was competitive without Vautour but it has now just been made even more competitive.


The second thing you have to think of is apparently the horse is only 90%. The Ryanair is not a weak race at the distance. It would be a weaker race at 3m2f but it is not, it’s over 2m4f. If he is only 90% as they say, he could be in trouble at any distance.

I’m really happy with Al Ferof as he is in good shape heading into the race.

Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle – 1.30pm

I run two in the opening race on day two of the Festival, Its’afreebee and Welsh Shadow. Its’afreebee got a form boost the other day with Le Prezien winning impressively at Kelso. I think he will stay the trip.

Welsh Shadow is absolutely crying out for the trip in my opinion. He has come on a bundle for his run at Kempton. They are both in really good form. Harry has chosen Welsh Shadow but I don’t know how much you can read into that. One will be ridden prominently and the other will be held up.

I honestly felt last year that Welsh Shadow would be one of my top novices and would certainly be lining up at the Festival. His rating suggests he has a lot to find but I think he could outrun it as Mister Miyagi did on Tuesday. Its’afreebee has done nothing but improve for us. He is very tough and genuine.

RSA Chase – 2.10pm
Cheltenham Saturday

I like More of That in the RSA Chase, he obviously won a World Hurdle, whereas No More Heroes could not win an Albert Bartlett. Their form over hurdle is poles apart, I know fences can bring them closer together but the reality is one is a lot better horse than the other on his best conditions, although that was over hurdles. I would have More of That 100 times out of 100 going into the race, but that’s just an opinion.

Coral Cup – 2.50pm

It is a very strong race this. The ground has come perfect for Long House Hall. I would not have run him in this three weeks ago but since then he has just bloomed. He’s won around here before. In his three completed starts for us he has not even had a shake of the reins never mind a slap. The race should be run to suit him so there are lots of positives. I think we have a bit in hand. It is very competitive though.

Champion Chase – 3.30pm

Un De Sceaux is a certainty. There is going to be a couple of horses who will try to go with him but I fell they’ve no chance of maintaining it. Special Tara is fast but he isn’t as fast as Un De Sceaux. If he gets round, he will win, it is as simple as that.

Paul’s team are happy with Dodging Bullets but the mountain they have to climb is not insignificant and he’s said as much.

Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle – 4.50pm

I have a big chance in this with Kasakh Noir. We were always going coming to this race when he got beat at Newbury in December. I’ve been waiting for better ground. It would have been better not going up four pounds for his success at Market Rasen but it is a big day for him. It’s a real competitive contest but hopefully he can run a big race.

Fancy any of Dan’s horses to land the spoils on Day Two 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.