Brothers Dan and Harry Skelton are enjoying a superb season over the jumps and they could hold the key to Cheltenham’s International Hurdle (15:05) on Saturday afternoon.
Harry Skelton has been the talk of the weighing room this term and he recently burst through the 100-winner mark for the season, prompting talk he could push champion jockey Richard Johnson in the title race.
All his winners have been trained by older brother Dan and they have developed into a formidable and reliable team. Championship honours will surely be in store for both trainer and jockey down the line.
For now, we’ll settle for seeing them team up to land the Grade 2 International Hurdle with the returning Ch’tibello, priced at 15/2 in this seven-runner field.
Last spotted finishing second to Yanworth in the Kingwell at Wincanton in February, Ch’tibello is proven on testing ground and, as a six-year-old, could be much stronger this term. Dan Skelton’s horses are flying right now with a 29% strike rate and he should outrun his odds.
Rivals The New One and My Tent Or Yours are respected but getting no younger, while Melon must prove he can cut it in amongst some seasoned rivals but could still rank as the biggest danger for trainer Willie Mullins.
Earlier on the Cheltenham card, Clan Des Obeaux is fancied to defy top-weight and will take plenty of beating in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup (13:55).
Trainer Paul Nicholls is seeking a fifth win in this handicap contest since 2009 and his charge looks a solid proposition at 7/2. Clan Des Obeaux ran subsequent Ladbrokes Trophy runner-up Whisper close on his reappearance before running out a ready winner of a graduation chase at Newbury last month.
A smooth jumper and strong traveller, Harry Cobden’s mount looks primed for this contest.
Early on the Cheltenham card, 7/2 chance Gino Trail is fancied to go very well from the front in the Junior Jumpers Handicap Chase (13:20). He won a decent contest at Wetherby last time out and will be dangerous if left to his own devices on the front end.
Over at Doncaster on Saturday, Nicky Henderson can take the Novices’ Hurdle (12:30) with French import Countister in the JP McManus silks.
He was a good second on his British bow at Newbury last month behind a well-supported favourite and can justify 2/1 favouritism on Town Moor to open his account with Nico de Boinville booked to steer.
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