Dan Skelton confirms Mares’ Hurdle target for Roksana

Dan Skelton has announced Roksana will try to regain her title in the Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle next week at Cheltenham.

The nine-year-old also had the option of running in the Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle and when Philip Hobbs revealed on Friday that Thyme Hill had met with a setback and would miss the race, her price began to contract for the longer contest.

However, the in-form Skelton has opted to stick to his original plan with Roksana and she will take on her own sex, including the impressive Concertista, on Tuesday.

Skelton explained: “I always said she was going to the Mares’ until she wasn’t and at the 11th hour yesterday with Philip Hobbs’ horse not being able to run, I just needed a little bit longer to talk to the owners and talk to Harry (Skelton) to confirm that we were still doing the right thing by going to the Mares’.

“I confirmed her for the Stayers’ just to give us a little bit more time. My thoughts at the time were ‘nothing has changed’.

“It wasn’t an easy decision to make – it was actually a hard decision, but we made it two weeks ago. We just wanted to satisfy ourselves that we were doing the right thing.”

Roksana won the race two years ago when taking advantage of a fall at the last by Benie Des Dieux.

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