DAN Skelton believes it is an ‘acceptable dream’ for connections of Deafening Silence to think about taking a trip to the Cheltenham Festival in March following his victory in the Betfair Beacons Winter Novices’ Hurdle at Sandown Park on Friday (December 8th).
The Shelfield Green handler predicted that the lightly raced six-year-old has a ‘massive future’ after backing up his last time out success at Exeter when bravely getting the better of Insurrection in the Grade Two contest to complete a double for the Skelton brothers.
Ridden patiently for much of the extended two-and-a-half-mile race by Harry Skelton the 6-1 chance steadily worked his way into contention before moving on past long-time leader Insurrection after the last and striding on to victory by two and a half lengths following an entertaining battle to the line.
Dan said: “The two six-year-olds have come a long way clear and I think that is the type of day it is. That bit of strength on this ground, around this track is so important. He is obviously a very strong stayer.
“I wouldn’t say Harry was off the bridle, but he was a bit cold on him the whole way round. He has got a fabulous attitude, and he wants to keep doing it.
“We had a sloppy jump two out and I thought is that our chance gone, but he is a tenacious horse.”
An outing in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at The Festival is now likely to be Deafening Silence’s long-term target according to the Grade One-winning trainer.
Dan added: “It is an acceptable dream to have [to go to the Cheltenham Festival].
“You wouldn’t want to be going to an Albert Bartlett at a tender age, but with his age and strength and the form to back it up I think it is an acceptable situation to go there.”
The application of a set blinkers should help Mount Tempest unlock his potential over fences in the Best Odds On The Betfair Exchange Handicap Chase.
Given a positive ride from the front the 11-2 chance secured victory in the extended one mile seven contest by a length and a half to initiate a near 45-1 double for the Skelton brothers.
Dan said: “He has obviously got plenty of ability, but he is a little rascal as he probably only uses whatever he wants to.
“The other day at Wetherby we gave him the chance to get the trip, but he went ‘oh yeah I’ll stay behind then’. Obviously the blinkers have helped him.
“He will probably go to the Winter Million Festival at Lingfield as there is either a novices’ handicap chase, or handicap chase, that is worth quite a bit.”
The Skelton brothers enjoyed further success at Aintree last weekend after Pembroke (6-4) proved the only finisher in the Boylesports Best Odds Guaranteed On Racing Beginners’ Chase.