Dan Skelton could be the trainer to follow in this afternoon's feature races at Market Rasen.
I’ve covered those races elsewhere on this site and will be concentrating here on the big jumps races at Market Rasen, the Summer Hurdle and Summer Plate, both of which are televised on Channel 4.
The Hurdle, which is due off at 2.55pm, has attracted a big field and the majority can be given a chance of sorts, which explains why bookmakers are going 5/1 the field. They are agreed on making Buckwheat favourite and John Ferguson’s runner looks to have solid credentials, though he’s up in class and is now 13lb higher than when posting a fascile success at Aintree in June. A smart sort on the flat when trained by Andre Fabre, he may well be capable of defying the rise and his trainer knows what it takes to land this having sent out the last two winners.
A stable hat-trick would not surprise and he’s not one to dismiss lightly, but I can’t help thinking HURRICANE HOLLOW is the one to be on. Dan Skelton’s charge has not been out since winning nicely in a strong-looking Cheltenham handicap in April and his absence since is no concern as Skelton is sure to have him well prepared for this valuable prize and the stable has been in fantastic form of late. With just four starts over hurdles under his belt, there is likely more to come form him and the prevailing fast ground is another positive, with his only defeat in four starts over the smaller obstacles coming on very soft ground at Kempton in December.
I’m making no excuses for sticking with Skelton for the Plate (3.30pm), though he sets punters a slight puzzle by running two in Ulis De Vassy, who is 2-2 for the yard and may still be well treated on a mark of 128, and the 132-rated PUMPED UP KICKS. The latter therefore has something in common with eight of the last ten winners, in that he is rated in the 130s, and more importantly he looks to be still improving.
A dual point winner in Ireland, she failed to win under Rules when with Gordon Elliott, and he made an inauspicious start to his British career when tailed off at Ascot in March. What she needed all along, though, was better ground and proved that hacking up in a Listed contest at Cheltenham just 18 days after, before winning a novice handicap at Warwick a week later with her head in her chest. This is tougher of course, but like her stablemate she appears to be improving and will be carrying my money.