Trainer Dan Skelton has yet to have a winner in 2014 after saddling 15 during November and December, however, his horses haven’t been running badly with Balle Anrai finishing second in the Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster and Toby Lerone filling the same spot at the weekend in a hot novice race at Sandown.
Our eyes have been very much drawn to the chances of the Skelton-trained course winner Forest Walker today at Ludlow, who runs in the Attwood Memorial Trophy Handicap Chase at 2:40.
After starting the season with a bang the wheels looked to come off his bandwagon with a couple of below par follow ups at Kempton and Warwick.
But there were major signs of positivity in his last run behind subsequent winner Benny’s Mist at Wincanton to give the impression that this is a horse still on the up.
Skelton fitted the horse with a tongue-tie last time out and it seemed to do the trick.
He looked a really classy horse when bolting clear of a good field at Uttoxeter on his handicap debut but despite travelling and jumping well in his two subsequent starts, the lights went out rather quickly when push came to shove.
That wasn’t the story at Wincanton though where he stayed on right to the line, only to be beaten by a well handicapped sort. The handicapper has dropped him 2lbs for that very respectable effort and he should go very close.
Market rival Tony Dinozzo isn’t too be trusted at short prices as despite being talented, he clearly has his own way to go about this game.
Peter Bowen’s charge has twice thrown away superb chances to get his head in front in his last three starts, stumbling on landing at Leicester in December and then taking a crashing fall with just one fence to jump at Fakenham with the race at his mercy.
It will be interesting to see how well backed Evan Williams’ progressive chaser Buywise proves in the market as he looks to have a huge engine and plenty of scope to progress further.
We respect his chances but his jumping looked rather sketchy last time out in his very easy win at Taunton and we’d much rather get on Forest Walker at the advertised prices.
The stake recommendation? Three points win.
Good luck, comrades.
Profit and Loss Record Staked: 237pts Returned: 262.36pts P/L: +25.36pts
(Cheltenham ante post book: 2pts West Wizard in Supreme Novices Hurdle 8/1 & 1pts EW Harry Topper in Gold Cup 50/1 & 2pts EW Corrin Wood in RSA Chase 16/1 & 1pt Boston Bob in World Hurdle 11/1 & 2pts Felix Yonger in Arkle Chase)
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