Dan Skelton: Nube Negra has tough challenge in National Hunt finale
The National Hunt season ends this weekend and Ladbrokes ambassador Dan Skelton gave us his thoughts on how the year has gone and his five runners at Sandown on Saturday.
It’s the final day of the season and I’ve been happy with the way the campaign has gone. It was a little frustrating not to land a Cheltenham Festival winner. The way Langer Dan ran at Aintree afterwards suggested that with hindsight he was our best chance, but he got brought down at the second.
The horses have held their form well so I am very proud of the team who have helped us maintain that. The owners have been outstanding. We are already on the way to refreshing our string for the new season, at the sales and privately. We always want to strengthen. It’s a lovely position to be in and I am very grateful for that. But before that we are aiming to bring down the curtain with a bang.
We have two in this £100,000 race. Jack Andrews rides Boombawn. He won on him last time and is taking 5lb off. He likes good ground. The track will be a bit different to the flat tracks he has been running on. There is a stiff finish at Sandown and we won’t know how he will cope with that until he tries it, but he is in good form at home.
Harry rides Doctor Parnassus who has been one of the top end juvenile hurdlers this year. He ran okay in the Triumph and has gone up 5lb for it, but I wouldn’t say he ran any better than expectations. He ran a nice race and I think there is a lot of improvement to come from him over time.
I’m sure he can step up in trip next season. This is a good race for him. A track which puts an emphasis on stamina like Sandown will be good for him, and with the age allowance I’d like to think he will be a player.
Two miles on decent ground is his cup of tea. He didn’t run at Cheltenham after it rained and rained on the day of the Champion Chase, which was 100 per cent the right decision. We have been waiting for the chance for him to have his Grade 1 day and hopefully this is it.
I’ve been happy with him at home. He looks great in his coat as you would expect at this time of year. But this will be no pushover. There are some pretty strong opponents in here. Sceau Royal always runs his race and Greaneteen is going to be hard to beat because Paul Nicholls is bound to have him ready.
I have always thought one day this three mile, five furlong trip would be within his reach. Whether it will be on his first attempt at it I don’t know but we have to get stuck in and this feels the time to do it. I’ve kept him fresh for this.
I will be keeping an eye on the ground because if it gets really quick he might not run. Good with the odd bit of good to firm should be fine. At his age he can only get better and we feel he has a big future ahead of him.
The same comments about the ground apply to Beakstown. He won last time when he showed he had got things together. He won a nice pot up at Ayr. I’d love to run him but if the ground is on the real quick side we will have to be careful because he has had a year off before now.
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