Dan Skelton insists Protektorat has had the perfect build up for his re-match with A Plus Tard3 min read
Trainer Dan Skelton insists Protektorat has had the perfect build up for his re-match with Cheltenham Gold Cup winner A Plus Tard… and claims Haydock’s ‘track will be more suitable for him’
- Protektorat will face A Plus Tard in the Betfair Chase at Haydock on Saturday
- Trainer Dan Skelton says Protektorat has had the perfect build up for the race
- Protektorat was the first British-trained horse home in the Cheltenham Gold Cup
- The seven-year-old has 17-and-a-half lengths to make up on rival A Plus Tard
- Protektorat is part-owned by United legend and racing fan Sir Alex Ferguson
Trainer Dan Skelton says Protektorat has had the perfect build up for his re-match with Cheltenham Gold Cup winner A Plus Tard in the Betfair Chase at Haydock on Saturday.
Protektorat, part-owned by Sir Alex Ferguson, was the first British-trained horse home in the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March when third.
But the seven-year-old has 17-and-a-half lengths to make up on Henry De Bromhead-trained A Plus Tard, who is defending his Betfair Chase crown having won by 22 lengths last season.
Trainer Dan Skelton (above) says Protektorat has had the perfect build up for his re-match with Cheltenham Gold Cup winner A Plus Tard
Skelton said: ‘Protektorat is prepared and needs to be. We know we have to make up ground with A Plus Tard but he is a young horse and he has not had many tries at the three-mile trip.
‘Hopefully the track will be more suitable for him, although you cannot say Cheltenham doesn’t suit him. We have to give it a go. If they are ready, well and prepared properly I won’t duck it. We will always do that as long as we get the best build up.’
Skelton was speaking after Nube Negra, ridden by brother Harry, easily won the Shloer Chase for the second year running. Interest in the two-mile contest was greatly reduced when 2022 Arkle Challenge Trophy winner Edwardstone, the main opposition to Nube Negra, was scratched meaning the winner started at odds of 1-10.
Protektorat (above) was the first British-trained horse home in the Cheltenham Gold Cup
The Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Festival in March is again in Nube Negra’s sights. He was second in the race last year but pulled out last season when the ground turned heavy.
A horse who needs his races spaced out, Nube Negra’s only possible race before the Festival is the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton on December 27.
The trophy for the Shloer Chase was presented by Jonny Bairstow, who would have been celebrating alongside his England T20 World Cup-winning cricket colleagues had he not broken his left leg and dislocated his ankle in a freak accident while playing golf in September.
Bairstow, sporting a green tweed suit and protective boot, had watched the conclusion of England’s victory at the track.
The seven-year-old is part-owned by Man United legend and racing fan Sir Alex Ferguson
He added: ‘It has been an emotional rollercoaster over the last couple of months but it is fabulous to see the boys lift the World Cup. They proved people wrong.’ One of the performances of the three-day Cheltenham November meeting came when I Like To Move It, trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies, carried 12st to a five-and-a-half length win in the Greatwood Hurdle.
In 2002, Rooster Booster, trained by Philip Hobbs, shouldered top-weight of 11st 12lb to victory in the Greatwood and then progressed through the season to land the Champion Hurdle.
I Like To Move It, who races off a much lower handicap rating, has a bigger leap to make but will be back at Cheltenham next month for the International Hurdle. His jockey Sam Twiston-Davies said: ‘He’s been an exciting horse from day one and we can start to dream now.’