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StableTalk: “We are as good as can be and there are no negatives”

| 17.03.2016

We used up no luck on day one of the Festival. North Hill Harvey made a sloppy mistake two out. He wouldn’t have beaten Altior but it would not have been out of the realms of possibility that he could have finished second. With a bigger jump at the last, Mister Miyagi would have been fourth. They both ran really well.

Stephanie Frances travelled well in the Mares’ Hurdle but didn’t quite see out the trip. Fairytale Theatre found the ground and class tough as we thought she would in his race. Then I thought Willow’s Saviour wasn’t done with when he came down. I’m not saying he would have beaten Ballyalton but he’d have finished in the placings. They all ran up to what we thought they would but we just had no luck.

JLT Novices’ Chase – 1.30pm

We start with Three Musketeers in the JLT Novice Chase. I am happy with him coming into it. He had a poor run here at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day but our runners weren’t running great at the time. We have ironed things out since then. If he jumps like he did during his win at the Hennessy meeting at Newbury, then he will go close. The ground is drying out but they will go a strong pace and that will suit him.

Ryanair Chase – 2.50pm

Al Ferof

This was never going to be Al Ferof’s race to lose even if connections had chosen the Gold Cup for Vautour and Road To Riches. Now that Vautour is going for the Ryanair, he is going to be hard to beat. That said, they say he is only 90% so if that is the case, then it gets the rest of the field a chance. I don’t agree with Rich Ricci when he says it is a weak race. It is not a weak race at all.

Valseur Lido is ahead of us in the betting and he has not had a good preparation coming into this. He’s been on the floor twice and on one of those occasions he was a long way behind us before falling in the King George.

The ground is going to be very different for Road To Riches and that will probably suit him. He went off a very short price in the Irish Gold Cup and he was unable to win that. We are as good as can be and there are no negatives so what will be, will be.

World Hurdle – 3.20pm

2015 Christmas Racing Weekend - Day Two - Ascot Racecourse

We don’t have a runner in the World Hurdle but it does look like Thistlecrack’s to lose. The only horse in the filed which I think could beat him is Aux Ptits Soins. All the others have tried and have failed to get the better of him, or have shown firm way below what is necessary. Aux Ptits Soins has one of the lower ratings in the field but he is the only one we don’t know about. It would be incredible if he won but if the Thistlecrack we’ve seen all season puts his best foot forward then it could be a procession.

Trull House Stud Mares’ Hurdle – 4.50pm

Girly Girl runs in the new mares’ hurdle race. There looks to be a couple of smart ones in this. Limini is obviously the hot favourite and they hold her very high regard. I don’t think she will do what Vroum Vroum Mag did and have it all her own way though. Smart Talk looks decent as does Tea In Transvaal. If everything goes in our favour, Girly Girl is not without an each-way chance.

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