Double delight for title-chasing Skelton at Huntingdon

Harry Skelton kept up the pressure on Brian Hughes in the race for the jockeys’ title with a double for brother Dan on Go Steady and Antunes at Huntingdon on Thursday.

Skelton knows that in order to threaten the championship won for the first time by Hughes last season he will have to rely largely on his home stable remaining in cracking form.

But he stressed the importance of obtaining increased support from outside yards, saying: “The winners are coming really well, touch wood, and I will keep tipping away, even though it is going to be difficult.

“Brian gets a lot of rides, but our horses are in great form. I just need a few extra winners from outside to keep the pressure on.”

On 100-30 shot Go Steady in the Mansionbet’s Best Odds Guaranteed Handicap Chase, Skelton was rewarded for his perseverance as he reeled in Rob The Getaway.

He said: “He’s going the right way. He was a bit unfortunate at Fontwell when he landed on a ditch and unseated Bridget (Andrews). He’s a horse that likes to get the sun on his back, and I hope he’ll continue to progress.”

Skelton spent the latter part of the Mansionbet’s Bet 10 Get 20 Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase in isolation on 9-4 chance Antunes, who completely dominated the contest after the departure of 6-4 favourite Timetochill.

Fable gave her supporters an anxious moment when losing ground halfway down the back stretch in the mares’ maiden hurdle, but Nico de Boinville remained patient on the Nicky Henderson-trained six-year-old who came through to outpoint Juniper and long time leader Lady Of The Night.

The even-money favourite will according to her rider appreciate a further step up in trip on a more galloping track.

He said: “The track rode a bit tighter than on her run at Wincanton and the ground was dead and tacky. She struggled to hold her position going down the back but she’s really gutsy, and when I asked her away she went, showing a fighting spirit.”

Gavin Sheehan had to content himself with second on Juniper in that race – but the jockey had earlier connected with Brave Seasca flooring 11-10 shot Interconnected in the Mansionbet’s Watch And Bet Novices’ Hurdle.

Sheehan said: “I was impressed with the way he jumped. He got in a bit tight to a couple, but then winged the flights in the back and got a flier at the second-last, after which I always thought I was going to win.

“His form had worked out and I think that long term he’s a rangy, scopey chaser in the making.”

Liam Harrison needs just two more winners to see his claim reduced to 5lb after the battling success of No No Juliet in the mansionbet.com Mares’ Handicap Chase.

The 5-2 winner grabbed Ellens Way approaching the last and stayed on in determined fashion to score by a length and three-quarters, with The Toojumpa just a neck further away.

The jockey said: “Her Wetherby run was not long off the back of her previous race, so she’d been given a bit more time between races. She was a bit cold early in the race today, but really warmed to the task as the race progressed.”

Malina Ocarina posted a 20-1 shock when coming home three and a half lengths clear of Great Hall for Gary Hanmer and Charlie Todd in the Mansionbet’s Faller Insurance Handicap Hurdle.

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