Skelton planning Kempton raid

Dan Skelton hopes to be well represented at Kempton's 32Red Winter Festival where Ch'tibello is expected to step up in grade.

Dan Skelton hopes to have a runner in every race at Kempton

Skelton has been an increasing presence at the top table since taking out his trainer's licence and he revealed that he hopes to 'to have a runner in more or less every race' at the two-day meeting.

The Alcester handler won't be represented in the feature King George VI Chase but he will have a runner in the meeting's other principal contest, the Christmas Hurdle.

Ch'tibello was beaten in an Ascot handicap on his seasonal reappearance but left that form behind when winning at Haydock Park where dual Champion Hurdle runner-up My Tent Or Yours was back in third and Skelton believes the five-year-old will cope with the step up in grade.

"It's obviously the first time we'll have gone into Grade One company but it was a good run at Haydock and I think he's eligible for this race," he said.

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"He's got numbers to find on handicap marks but we're really looking forward to running him."

Skelton will also seek graded race success in the Kauto Star Novices' Chase, a Grade One contest formerly known as the Feltham Novives' Chase and one which could feature star novice Thistlecrack.

The 142 rated Churchtown Champ is being aimed at the race after winning a Southwell handicap by 10 lengths on his second start over fences last month and Skelton is hopeful of a big run if Thistlecrack's attention is turned elsewhere.

"If Thistlecrack runs, we've got no realistic chance, however I'm happy with our horse and if the forecast is right the ground should be perfect," he continued.

"He'll appreciate a smaller field. It's a big step up to him but if we can do something like this en-route to a Grade Two at a track where Thistlecrack's not, then all well and good.

"If Thistlecrack doesn't turn up, I'd suggest we have a chance of winning. He's progressing."

Other possibles for the meeting include Newbury winner Knockgraffon Lad who could take his chance in the Wayward Lad Novices' Chase if conditions are suitable.

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