AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

HARRY SKELTON: Weekend Preview

Last week wasn’t too bad, we had a few winners and the horses seem to be going well despite having to contend with a lot of rain around writes HARRY SKELTON..

L’Eau Du Sud ran really well in the Betfair and I’m just relieved he showed us that he can translate his homework to the track. His run was frustrating at Cheltenham, but we knew something was wrong and it just goes to show how much ulcers stop a horse from doing what they are capable of. We’re thinking of taking him to the Country Hurdle but I do think whatever he does this year will be a bonus as I see him as a chaser in the making and that’s where he could really come into his own.

Royal Infantry stayed on well to win at Newbury and had plenty left at the line. He’s a very unassuming horse who saves his best for the track so we’re looking at both Cheltenham and Aintree for him.

We’ve got plenty of runners this weekend to look forward to at both Ascot and Haydock.



? JUVENTUS DE BRION – 1.15pm Ascot Shop Novices’ Hurdle (GBB Race) (Class 2) 2m 3 1/2f

He had a nice run first time at Exeter and finished the race out well. He’s been improving nicely since then and, despite being a horse that has taken plenty of time to come to hand, he’s definitely going in the right direction. We don’t want to lose our novice status with him too cheaply just yet so we’re in quite a good race with him here and we’ll be happy if he sees it out and reaches the line well. Looking to next year he’ll be a horse to keep an eye on, as time has only been a help to him.

? THE KING OF RYHOPE – 1.50pm Sodexo Live! Reynoldstown Novices’ Chase (Grade 2) (GBB Race) (Class 1) 3m

We’ve got a bit to find on figures as he’s been a little bit disappointing since his win at Chepstow. He’s struggled to keep his form from the early part of the season, but, having said that, he’s a horse with plenty of ability. We’d like to see him finish off his race well here and then we can step into handicap company in the spring.

? JAY JAY REILLY, LE MILOS, SANTOS BLUE – 2.25pm Thoroughbred Industry Employee Awards Handicap Hurdle (GBB Race) (Class 2) 2m 3 1/2f

We run three in the 2m3f handicap hurdle. I’ll be riding Jay Jay Reilly who won well in the Lanzarote last time and is in great form – coming back over hurdles has done him a world of good. Two and a half miles around Ascot should suit him well and I think he’s a really generous price.

Le Milos carries top-weight and has had a bit of a break since his last run at Market Rasen. Win, lose, or draw he will come on plenty for the race and we’ve done as much as we can at home. This run will definitely bring him forward and open up a few doors for the spring. We’ve got him entered in the Pertemps, which he has qualified for, and then we’re also keeping an eye on the Scottish National further down the line. There are plenty of big days coming up for him.

Santos Blue won nicely up at Wetherby last time out, he’s a solid horse and it remains to be seen whether the handicapper has got a hold on him yet. He’s in good form at home and will be ridden by Ben Sutton whose dad owns the horse. I don’t think he’s reached his peak yet, so he could run well.

? SHAN BLUE, BALLYGRIFINCOTTAGE – 3.00pm Injured Jockeys Fund Ambassadors Programme Swinley Handicap Chase (Premier Handicap) (GBB Race) (Class 1) 3m

I’ll be riding Shan Blue, who had a good run last time over two and a half miles. We’re stepping him up to three miles now, which will be sure to suit. Things have been coming together quite nicely for him and we’re hopeful of a good run. I think he’s on a really competitive mark and should go well.

A lot of water has gone under the bridge with Ballygrifincottage since he was really impressive on heavy ground up at Haydock and we’re hoping to get things back on track with him here. He would prefer it on the heavy side but unfortunately the right races just aren’t really there for him at the moment, so he’ll have to take his chance here. He seems to be in good form at home and we’d just be happy to see him run a solid race and then step forward next time.

? SAIL AWAY – 3.36pm Betfair Ascot Chase (Grade 1) (GBB Race) (Class 1) 2m 5f

There’ll be only four runners, and I think it’s £10,000 for fourth so hopefully with a nice, clear round we can pick up some valuable prize money – anything else would be a bonus. Further down the line we’ve got an eye on the Topham at Aintree.

? COCO MADEMOISELLE – 4.10pm Ascot Racecourse Supports Box4Kids Handicap Hurdle (Challenger Stayers Hurdle Series Qualifier) (Class 3) 2m 7 1/2f

I think three miles will really suit her, especially on a galloping track. I was slightly miffed that we got beat at Huntingdon last time, but it was by a progressive horse. She’s had a few nice runs, is in good form at home and stays really well, so I’d like to think that she can go close.

? LADY JAGO – 4.45pmBritish EBF Mares’ Open National Hunt Flat Race (Category 1 Elimination) (GBB Race) (Class 2) 1m 7 1/2f

She had a nice run last time at Ludlow and secured some valuable experience. Considering how well she’s been at home, we’re hopeful of a good run.


ARTEMIS KIMBO – 1.02pm Virgin Bet Every Saturday Money Back Mares’ Hurdle (Listed Race) (GBB Race) (Class 1) 2m 3f

The ground is sure to be testing up at Haydock. We’re chasing black type with our filly, and she’ll need to put in a career best to pick that up. We’re in with a chance as she’ll handle the ground, but we’ll just have to see how she gets on.

MARTHA BRAE – 2.40pm Virgin Bet Rendlesham Hurdle (Grade 2) (GBB Race) (Class 1) 3m 1/2f

She’ll be getting allowances as a filly which should help her. She’s a good stayer and handles the soft ground well, and we’d be delighted if she could pick up some prize money.

SNIPE – 3.15pm Virgin Bet Grand National Trial Handicap Chase (Premier Handicap) (GBB Race) (Class 1) 3m 4 1/2f

He finished really strongly at Doncaster, he’s a good jumper and stays well, but he’ll have to step up yet again as this is a deeper contest. He’s got no weight on his back though, so with a clear round, you’d like to think he’ll be competitive. He’s improving and we’re looking for a career best from him.

PUNTA DEL ESTE – 3.50pm Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle (Pertemps Hurdle Series Qualifier) (GBB Race) (Class 2) 3m 1/2f

He’s stepping up to three miles now having finished well the last day over two and a half. He handles the heavy ground well but whether he can see it out as strongly with a lot of weight on his back over the extended trip remains to be seen. He’s a progressive horse who’s going the right way though and we’d be delighted if we could get him qualified for the Pertemps here, as he seems to like it around Haydock.

LATENIGHTPASS – 4.25pm Albert Bartlett Prestige Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 2) (GBB Race) (Class 1) 3m 1/2f

It’s his first start over hurdles and being an 11-year-old, he looks to have a good chance as I think his experience will stand him in good stead. A lot of the others won’t be able to handle the conditions, but we’ve got a tough and hardened horse who’s in good form at home.

FIRAK – 4.55pm Virgin Bet Daily Price Boosts Walrus Open Hunters’ Chase (Class 3) 2m 6f

This is a valuable hunter chase and we’ll be looking to collect some prize money, although he’s got a bit to find on ratings. In the spring, when these hunter chases start to become more frequent, that’s when I think he’ll really start hitting his stride.

Good Luck



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