Allmankind put in an exemplary round of jumping to maintain his unbeaten record over fences in the Planteur At Chapel Stud Henry VIII Novices’ Chase at Sandown.
After making a winning debut over fences at Warwick, having previously finished third on his final start over hurdles on his seasonal return at Cheltenham, the Dan Skelton-trained four-year-old took another step forward by claiming the second Grade One of his career.
Though pressed for the lead down the back straight by eventual third Ga Law, the Tim and Bill Gredley-owned gelding soon moved back into a clear initiative he would maintain to the line.
Impressive Ffos Las scorer Hitman moved off in pursuit of the 2-1 favourite on the approach to the final two fences, but he could not find the gears to go with Allmankind and two and a half lengths separated the pair at the line.
Skelton said: “It was brilliant. I’m just delighted we ended up going down the chasing route. We were a little bit head-scratching after his debut run of the season at Cheltenham. Perhaps the horse lulled me into a false sense of fitness that day as I thought he was a lot fitter than he was.
“Tim said let’s go chasing and I thought OK, it’s a bit of a brave man’s route. He wasn’t that great the first couple of schooling sessions at home, but ever since Warwick he just thinks these (fences) are brilliant and loves jumping them. He was a little bit out to his left, but we had a chat beforehand to contain that as much as possible.
“It is great watching those horses over the two-mile chase track here. I’m delighted to be on the winner’s roll with him.”
Assessing future plans Skelton earmarked the Grade Two Kingmaker Novices’ Chase at Warwick in February as possible target, ahead of an outing in the Sporting Life Arkle at the Cheltenham Festival, for which he was cut to 10-1 by Sky Bet and 8-1 by William Hill.
He added: “We will look at the spring targets. We will probably go back to Warwick for the Kingmaker, then look at the Arkle then look at Liverpool as well. He is a pleasure to have and has been a remarkable horse for us, a dual Grade One winner.”
Paul Nicholls will consider stepping runner-up Hitman up in trip on his next start, although he has not ruled out taking on the winner again.
He said: “It was a good run. Harry Skelton nicked it from the back of the Pond Fence and five lengths is hard to get back. It was only the fifth run of his career and second over fences and it was very good.
“All we did was stay on up the hill and his inexperience just caught him out down the back and those Railway fences. I wouldn’t be afraid of taking on the winner again with a bit more experience.
“He might get a bit further and he might be ideal for the Scilly Isles and Pendil.
“It was a good run for a young horse.”