Skelton’s Welsh wonder to score
Simon Holt is backing Dan Skelton to plunder another decent prize on Saturday as he previews the action at Newbury.
Trainer Dan Skelton can saddle another decent winner
Rising star Dan Skelton has several good chances on the card at Newbury's New Years Eve meeting, not least the promising Robin Roe who seeks to endorse his Cheltenham Festival claims in the Grade One Betfred 'Goals Galore' Challow Novices' Hurdle.
Already second favourite for the Neptune in March, this lightly-raced five-year-old earned rave reviews from his trainer when bolting up at Aintree in October, slamming subsequent Plumpton winner No Comment by 12 lengths.
Ground conditions were a bit quicker that day than they are likely to be at Newbury, but Robin Roe won a point-to-point on soft and, on reputation and, to a slightly lesser degree, form, could well take the beating.
However, with the Grade Two Sandown winner Messire Des Obeaux and Colin Tizzard's unbeaten hurdler Elegant Escape in the line-up, along with other promising types, this looks a hot race.
Earlier, Skelton could well take the Betfred 'Follow The Action On Twitter' Novices' Limited Handicap Chase with WELSH SHADOW.
The six-year-old needs to put a slightly underwhelming chase debut at Haydock behind him, albeit up against two smart types in Politologue (winner since) and Vintage Clouds that day, but is undeniably well handicapped here off a mark 5lb lower than his current hurdles rating.
Welsh Shadow had previously run a blinder when a battling second to the smart Garde La Victoire in the Welsh Champion Hurdle at Ffos Las and his fifth behind Yorkhill and Yanworth in last season's Neptune Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival was a highly respectable effort too.
Top weight Potters Legend, a creditable second to Present Man (beaten since) after two novice chase wins at Kempton and Bangor, could be the danger.
Lucy Wadham's gelding was also a decent novice hurdler last term when finishing second in the EBF Final at Sandown and third to Ballyoptic and Bellshill at Aintree.
Later, BLAMEITALLONMYROOTS is fancied to come on for her reappearance third behind Minella Daddy at Ascot in the Betfred Mandarin Handicap Chase.
Oliver Sherwood's mare just got a bit tired in the closing stages that day after holding every chance and the winner was unlucky not to follow up on the same course subsequently.
Blameitallonmyroots looks a steadily improving chasing type and, considering she can race here off her hurdles rating, there is a good chance of further progress over the larger obstacles.
Posted at 1205 GMT on 30/12/16.