AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

HARRY SKELTON: Saturday Preview

This is such an exciting time of year. Everyone has that nervous excitement with Cheltenham just a few days away writes HARRY SKELTON. I’ll be writing a blog for each day of the Festival next week so don’t miss those on this site!

We’ve got some very nice horses to run next week and if we were to get a winner, we’d be over the moon. I’d say Grey Dawning is probably my best chance at this stage but you can check all my latest thoughts in the videos I recorded for the Star team this week – direct from the stables …

HARRY SKELTON: Video Stable Tour

It’s Imperial Cup Day at Sandown on Saturday, a race we were lucky enough to win three years ago with Langer Dan. It would be great if we could win it again.



? KARTON AND CO – 1.15pm Betfair Racing Podcasts Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (GBB Race) (Class 3) 2m

We’ve got a nice bit of form with Givemefive when giving him a penalty at Market Rasen and that form has been franked quite nicely. At Huntingdon the last day, we didn’t really work out how the race was going to pan out. I made the running and he was having a look, but it turned into a bit of a sprint and then he really stayed on strongly after the last. I think Sandown will suit him, he’s a tough horse that gives his all and he’s nicely handicapped, so we’ll be hopeful of a good run.

? ASTA LA PASTA – 1.50pm European Breeders’ Fund Betfair ‘National Hunt’ Novices’ Handicap Hurdle Final (Premier H’cap) (GBB) (Class 1) 2m 4f

He’s done well this year with three wins under his belt and ran nicely three starts ago at Sandown over two miles, but the step up to two and a half miles on a right-handed track is what he wants. He’s a tough horse and nicely weighted. He’s also got the ability to handle conditions where many won’t, so with a bit of a break from his last run, he’s looking fresh and ready.

? FAIVOIR(pictured below) 2.25pm Betfair Imperial Cup Handicap Hurdle (GBB Race) (Class 2) 2m

I think it was a really good run in the Betfair Hurdle last time out and he seems to have taken a big step in the right direction as a result. He’s coming back into form and seems in good order at home. I think the soft ground on a stiff track like this is what he wants, so if he puts his best foot forward, he should go close to winning.

He’s been so consistent for us, running well in the Betfair Hurdle, but the handicapper has just got him in a really tight grip at the moment. He acts really well on the track and will handle the ground, there just isn’t much leniency off that mark.

Charlie (Todd) takes the ride in the Imperial Cup. We are trying our hand at the bottom of the weights and we feel we should have a go. We’ve been a little frustrated the last couple of times, he seems quite tricky to win with. Regardless, we’ll be looking to pick up the pieces and pick up some prize money.

? HONKY TONK HIGHWAY – 3.00pm British Stallion Studs EBF Mares’ Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race (Listed Race) (GBB Race) (Class 1) 2m

Her point-to-point form seems quite smart and Ben Pauling’s mare franked the form after her run at Market Rasen so we’re excited about her. She seems quite straightforward and looks a good stayer that can handle conditions well. We’re still learning about her but we love what we see so far at home.

MYLESFROMWICKLOW – 3.35pm Betfair Serial Winners Fund Novices’ Handicap Chase (Premier Handicap) (GBB Race) (Class 1) 2m 4f

Fergus Gillard has been getting on well with him so far this season, so he’ll be on board again. I don’t really know whether the handicapper has got a hold of him but he’s been in very good form at home, so I’d imagine it’ll be a case of seeing how he gets on and go from there.

? BALLYGRIFINCOTTAGE – 4.10pm Best Odds On The Betfair Exchange Handicap Chase (Challenger Staying Chase Series Qualifier) (Class 3) 3m

He had a good run the last day at Ascot and managed to stay on and wasn’t beaten all that far. It was a real turning point and he seems to be going in the right direction now which is where we want him. I think with a bit of progression around this track he could go well.

? JET PLANE – 4.40pm betting.betfair.com Handicap Chase (Class 3) 2m 4f

The handicapper gave him a hefty mark after winning at Ludlow and he has been in the tight grips ever since. He has started to relent though now and seems to have been dropped to a reasonable mark. Ideally, he’d want some good ground but that’s not around at the moment so we’re taking our chances.



LADY BERLAIS – 2.17pm Betting.Bet Handicap Hurdle (Class 5) 3m 1/2f

She’ll be getting seven pounds off and we did win with her at Fakenham but since then things have been pretty difficult. We’re stepping up to three miles here, so we’ll take our time and try to pick up some pieces.

COTTIE – 4.35pm cheltenhamfestival.com Mares’ Handicap Hurdle (Challenger Mares’ Hurdle Series Qualifier) (Class 4) 2m

She had a run at Market Rasen and was fairly well beaten. We hope she’ll step forward from that here and some more options should open up as we approach the spring.

We’re going back over hurdles with her and will be claiming a nice seven pounds. She’s looking in really good form at home and I wouldn’t be surprised if she went very close to winning. We might try fences again but she got a bit of a fright on her third run over them, so we’ve just been schooling her at home since then and she seems well in herself. With the seven pounds off she should go close.

ASIAN STAR – 5.12pm nagsbet.com £10 Free Bet Mares’ Open Maiden National Hunt Flat Race (Category 3 Elimination) (GBB) (Class 5) 2m

She seems a very straightforward and honest mare who was running well in her last point-to-point before falling. Much like Honky Tonk Highway, we don’t know a great deal about her yet, but we like what we see at home.

Good Luck



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