Skelton targets Trials day for 'remarkable' Triumph Hurdle fancy Allmankind
Leading JCB Triumph Hurdle hope Allmankind will bid to boost his Cheltenham Festival credentials on Trials day on Saturday week with trainer Dan Skelton describing the Grade 1 winner as a "remarkable horse".
Bill and Tim Gredley's four-year-old is a general 7-1 second favourite for the Triumph after scoring on all three hurdling starts, most recently winning the Coral Finale Juvenile Hurdle on Welsh National day at Chepstow last month.
Allmankind landed a Triumph trial at Cheltenham on his penultimate start and will bid to repeat the feat next week on the seven-race card headlined by the Cotswold Chase.
Two of the last five winners of the Triumph trial in January have gone on to land the opening event on Gold Cup day with Peace And Co (2015) and Defi Du Seuil (2017) successful in both events.
Skelton, speaking on the Racing Post’s Racing Riot podcast, said: “He’s a remarkable horse as he looks like he might stop in his races but he just doesn’t. In the short term his run style will benefit him as he makes it so hard for other juveniles to go at his pace and maintain it. It’s notoriously hard for three and four-year-olds to stay in soft ground but he makes it look easy.
“I’ll enter him next week for the Triumph trial at Cheltenham. I’ve got a lot of respect for Aspire Tower and what he’s done in Ireland, and we haven’t seen Goshen since he demoralised his rivals at Sandown. They have equally good form but Allmankind is very good.
“The atmosphere at Cheltenham won't be a problem for him as he’s quiet in everything he does until the tape goes back and he walked around with his head on the floor on Welsh National day. He’s a fast horse so you’d hope he’d go faster on better ground but the proof will be in the running.”
Protektorat – a reinstated winner of a Listed novice hurdle at the track on January 1 following a successful appeal – will return to Cheltenham for the Ballymore trial.
Skelton said: “He’ll be entered on trials day and if he went and won under a Class 1 penalty it'd suggest to go for the Ballymore and, if not, he could go for the Coral Cup. It could be an informative exercise to go there.”
Wind surgery has appeared to work the oracle with Oldgrangewood, who has prevailed by a nose on his last two starts in high-profile handicap chases and is set to head straight to the festival.
"He’ll be going straight to the festival for the Plate," Skelton added. "We had fancied him for a lot of different races and he didn’t quite get home but in the autumn he started making a noise and we thought we’d found the missing link. He finished third at Aintree on his first run back and we’ve gone from one race to the next since.”
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