Dan Skelton Stable Tour: Cheltenham Festival 2021

Dan Skelton Stable Tour: Cheltenham Festival 2021

When it comes to having winners, few do it better than Dan Skelton and although he might not have the quality to top the prize money ranks in the trainer’s title in the UK, he certainly does with the number of winners he puts on the board.

His string have only got better in the last few years, and he’ll head to Cheltenham this March with a good team of contenders that might be able to get their hands on some big races across the Festival.

He’s already enjoyed some great days at the big meeting with a trio of successes in the County Hurdle, plus a win in the Mares Hurdle thanks to the talented Roksana.

We’ve taken a look at some of his stable stars that’ll fly the flag for Team Skelton this year and identified which races they could be heading for at the Festival.

Allmankind

5-y-o bay gelding

Form: 13-3111

Verdict: Landed a hat trick recently when landing the G2 Kingmaker at Warwick, which puts him into contention at the top of the market for the Arkle. He also has the Grade One Henry VIII Novices’ Chase to his name already this season, and if he can just polish up his jumping a touch, he could prove to be a real challenger up against Shishkin and Energumene.

Ashtown Lad

7-y-o bay gelding

Form: 7-2115P

Verdict: A dual winner of novice hurdles this season, he deservedly had a crack at Graded company, but has seemingly found that level too hot after finishing a distant 5th in a Grade Two at Cheltenham and then being pulled up last time in the Grade Two River Don at Doncaster. He does hold entries in the Ballymore and the Albert Bartlett, but something like the Coral Cup might be more realistic.

Cadzand

6-y-o bay gelding

Form: 1/32-211

Verdict: Already a two time winner this season, this 6yo is certainly well regarded by Team Skelton, and proved his worth by picking up both his wins as a well backed favourite at Warwick and then Kempton. He wouldn’t be quite as close to the top of the market for the Supreme, where he holds an entry, but the County Hurdle could well be on his radar.

My Drogo

6-y-o bay gelding

Form: 211

Verdict: A progressive type, he built on his maiden win at Newbury by stepping up to take the Supreme trial at Ascot after travelling strongly. He also has a Cheltenham run in the bag after finishing 2nd in a bumper as a 50/1 shot back in October. He certainly looks bound for the Supreme, and may well outrun his odds again.

Nube Negra

7-y-o brown gelding

Form: 6/112-21

Verdict: After finishing third in the 2018 Fred Winter, Nube Negra hasn’t been seen again at the Festival, but is likely to appear in the Champion Chase this year after beating Altior in the Game Spirit on his only start this season. He’s a horse that doesn’t seem to appreciate too much racing, so going fresh to the Festival might just spring a surprise on some of his other big name opponents.

Protektorat

6-y-o bay gelding

Form: 130-112

Verdict: His owners include Sir Alex Ferguson, and this 6yo certainly put in a title winning performance when winning by 17 lengths at Cheltenham back in November. However, he’s since suffered defeat when 1/2f in the Dipper at Wincanton, and that would dent his chances in what looks a tough Marsh Novices’ Chase.

Roksana

9-y-o bay mare

Form: 524-131

Verdict: A winner of the Mares Hurdle in 2019, she is a top class mare and has added to her record with two wins already this season. The first of those came when stepped back up to three miles in the West Yorkshire Hurdle, and then most recently at 2m7½f in a Grade Two at Ascot. Connections must fancy a crack at the Stayers Hurdle, but if not, she’ll certainly big a strong contender in the Mares Hurdle back at 2m4f.

Shan Blue

7-y-o bay gelding

Form: 26-1112

Verdict: In excellent form this season, after notching up the hat trick with a win in the Grade One Kauto Star Novices’ Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day. He was then a close enough second to Sporting John in the Scilly Isles at Sandown and is more than deserving of a crack at the Marsh, where he’d be a lively each-way player.

Third Time Lucki

6-y-o brown gelding

Form: 4-11214

Verdict: Fourth in last season’s Champion Bumper, this 6yo has made a good start over hurdles, racking up three victories and a second in the Grade Two Supreme Trial at Cheltenham in November. However, he disappointed when sent off as the 10/11f in the Scottish Supreme Trial at Musselburgh, finishing 4th of 7, and that would be a worry if he’s to head to the Supreme at Cheltenham this year.

Molly Ollys Wishes

7-y-o bay mare

Form: 2-37111

Verdict: Has really progressed over hurdles against her own sex this season, with her best performance coming on her latest start in a Listed contest at Warwick. That was a 19 length rout of a field that included the likes of Paul's Saga, Dolcita, Eglantine Du Seuil and Whitehotchillifili. It's form that is going to give her a real hike in the weights, and might mean she has to go for the Mares Hurdle at the Festival. 

Wilde About Oscar

6-y-o bay gelding

Form: 14-11P1

Verdict: Other than being pulled up in the Challow at Newbury over Christmas, it's been a blemish free season that has included wins on all of his other three starts. The most recent of those was a Listed win at Exeter, which might be about his level, and means he goes for Martin Pipe or even the Coral Cup. 

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