Skelton Dreaming of Maiden Gold Cup Triumph - The Redditch Standard

Skelton Dreaming of Maiden Gold Cup Triumph

Redditch Editorial 14th Feb, 2024   0

Since picking up his licence in 2013, local trainer Dan Skelton has had a lot of success in Jumps racing. He has won major Grade One races such as Kauto Star Novices’ Chase and Henry VIII Novices’ Chase.

Skelton had two winners at Cheltenham Festival meeting in 2023, and he will be hoping to add to his tally this year in the Blue Riband event of the sport, the Cheltenham Gold Cup. The Lodge Hill-based trainer has entered Protektorat into the day four contest once again.

Solid Form This Season

Protektorat has featured three times so far this season. His best result came at Lingfield last time out when he was second behind L’Homme Presse in the Fleur De Lys Chase. He is now 50/1 in the Gold Cup betting on the back of that run. Before placing a bet on the race, check out the leading 2024 Cheltenham offers, as you may be able to pick up to £50 in free bets with Paddy Power or Copybet to use on the National Hunt meeting when you stake just £10.

Skelton’s chaser was disappointing on his opening appearance of the season at Haydock in the Grade One Lancashire Chase. He came home last of four runners in that race which was won by Royale Pagaille.

The nine-year-old took a big step forward on his second outing when he featured over the Cheltenham Gold Cup course in December. He had to carry a top weight of 12 stone in that contest, but he ran well to finish in the frame in third place.

Third Attempt at Championship Contest

Protektorat is set for his third shot at the Cheltenham Gold Cup this year. He came home behind A Plus Tard and Minella Indo respectively on his debut in the race in 2022. If it wasn’t for a mistake at the final fence, he may have finished second behind the Irish horse.

Although he was unable to secure one of the placings in 2023, Skelton’s horse produced another respectable performance. He was fifth of 13 runners in a strong field in the race won by Irish star Galopin Des Champs.

Skelton will be hoping the experience of his two previous appearances in the 3m2½f contest will help his horse this time around. He will also have a familiar partner in the saddle as Dan’s brother Harry Skelton is set to ride again.

Challengers Include Defending Champion

Last year’s winner Galopin Des Champs goes into the latest renewal of the Cheltenham Gold Cup as the horse to beat. He has been victorious on his last two outings, with Grade One victories coming in the Savills Chase and Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown.

Willie Mullins’ chaser heads a strong team from Ireland that also includes Punchestown Gold Cup winner Fastorslow and talented second-season chaser Gerri Colombe. All three of those horses are expected to be in contention at the finish in Cheltenham Festival feature.

This year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup could feature a maximum field of 19 runners, with the final declarations announced on the 13th of March

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