Dan Skelton: Protektorat will be right there in the mix
It is the opening day of the three-day Grand National meeting and Ladbrokes ambassador Dan Skelton assesses the prospects of his runners at Aintree on Thursday, where Gold Cup third Protektorat looks for a third success on Merseyside.
He takes a big step up in grade here but he is in good form and ran nicely in the Fred Winter. This track will suit him. We know this is a big ask and he is a big price but I think he will outrun those odds.
He had a great run in the Gold Cup and if I wasn’t happy with him, I wouldn’t be running him.
Yes, I would have loved if the Gold Cup was two weeks further away but it’s not and everything I have seen at home suggests we can compete and can run our race.
I think he will be right there in the mix. It is a tough race, it’s no gimme, and there have been horses who have been kept back for this. It will be a hard race.
Marracudja runs in the Foxhunters Chase. He has loads of experience and although he has never been around these fences before, I have toyed with going over them in the past.
He has proven himself as being one of the better ones among the hunter chasers since he has been doing it and with a clear round and a bit of luck, he should be there near the end.
He has been waiting for spring ground. He ran well last time and I would have to give him a chance in the Red Rum. This is his type of race.
I have two in the Mares’ bumper, starting with Fancy Stuff. She underran last time and I don’t really know why. She may just improve a bit for that recent outing and I think she will outrun her odds.
Harry rides Kateira. She is one from one and on paper she is one of the favourites. I have seen lots of positives at home with her. It is a very tough race but we have had it in mind since she won at Huntingdon.
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