Dan Skelton previews his day one runners at the Cheltenham Festival
We head into Cheltenham with four runners on the first day, starting with Allmankind (13:55) in the Arkle.
He is undefeated over fences, each time looking like he has enjoyed himself. I’ve been delighted with all three runs.
There are no negatives about the track. He got stuck in the ground a bit at Warwick last time, which was why he wasn’t his usual exuberant self jumping.
He’s been great at home since, he has worked well, done everything right and I think he is coming into this with a massive chance. I wouldn’t swap for anything.
I know Shishkin has a massive reputation but I feel confident we have a great horse on our side, although it’s sad the race has been robbed of Energumene.
Alnadam (14:30) runs in the Ultima. I feel like there has been enough rain for him to take his chance and I think he will be an improver stepped up in trip. He’s been very progressive as a novice chaser. I like what I’ve seen of him. He’s gone well in his work, jumped nicely and is ready to go.
Roksana (15:40) goes in the Mares. She was always running in this, until she wasn’t if that makes sense. I wanted to satisfy myself that it was the right thing to do. When Philip Hobbs said Thyme Hill wasn’t going to make the Stayers, we gave ourselves another day to think about it.
We are happy with the decision. She is in great form. She has never been better than this season. Yes, she is dropping back in trip but I feel she has leading form. Concertista is going to be hard to beat, but again I wouldn’t swap Roksana.
Cabot Cliffs (16:15) runs in the Boodles. He’s been a remarkable horse. He’s been a free-going, headstrong horse who is actually best when he doesn’t quite fully settle and gets on with it. It will be hyper-competitive with horses snapping at him in a competitive handicap, which will be a different kettle of fish, but I feel like he will give his running. He is an honest horse, who tries very hard and jumps well.
He ran there in the autumn when we were way too aggressive with him but the ground will be a bit better this time. We will still be positive with him as that’s the way he likes to be ridden.