Dan Skelton looks ahead to Sandown as weather takes its toll
We escaped the worst of the snow at home but the weather has claimed much of the jump racing so we only have runners at Sandown.
We start with Elton Des Mottes (12.40) in the novice hurdle. He ran well in a bumper first time last year but wasn’t quite so good in the autumn. I feel he has plenty to learn about the job so I want to see him get a clear round so we have something to build on.
I do think that when the penny drops for this horse he will be alright. He is biting off plenty here.
Azzuri (1.15) contests the handicap chase over two miles. He’s been a great horse for connections and is back with us now after running well in Ireland through last summer.
He is possibly a bit high in the handicap but he is a decent horse. We are delighted to have him back and hopefully there is still a good day or two left in him.
Roksana (1.50) runs in the Contenders Hurdle. We had a little bit of a hold-up with her in the autumn, which was nothing sinister, but once we weren’t going to have her ready for any of the big autumn targets we left her for the spring.
One run before Cheltenham was always the plan. We are hopefully aiming for the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle. She starts at two miles because I feel she will be keen and fresh from her layoff. She has done loads of work but will improve.
I don’t think she will beat the champion hurdler Buveur D’Air anyway but I am delighted to get her back on the track so we can get her going again.
We run No Hassle Hoff (3.35) in the big chase. He ran well over this course on his first start over fences back in the autumn. He has a nice rating in this and hopefully he can be competitive.
We had it in our mind to run him last week but the ground went too quick. I am happy with the horse and I think the track and trip will suit him.