Galia Des Liteaux gallops to taking Warwick triumph

Galia Des Liteaux never put a foot wrong as she jumped her rivals into submission in the Hampton Novices’ Chase at Warwick.

Dan Skelton has made no secret of the regard in which he holds the seven-year-old mare, and when she won a Listed event for mares on her chasing debut the sky looked the limit.

Upped to Grade One level for the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase over Christmas she almost fell at the second and then made another bad mistake at the fifth before she was eventually pulled up.

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Connections were content to put a line through that run, insisting that her jumping was sound in the main – and so it proved on this occasion as she put in some big leaps on the way round.

Paul Nicholls’ Complete Unknown was giving vain chase, as was Gordon Elliott’s The Goffer, but neither could ever get on terms.

With the last fence bypassed, Harry Skelton kept Galia Des Liteaux (11-4) up to her work to take Grade Two honours by 13 lengths.

“She made a very bad mistake at the second jump in the Kauto Star and I don’t think anyone would really have beaten Thyme Hill that day. It’s almost a blessing in disguise that she did that because it meant she didn’t have a hard race,” said Dan Skelton.

“I was surprised with what happened at Kempton and because she made the first mistake she made the second one. If she hadn’t made the first one she wouldn’t have made the second one. When you are trying to chase those good horses and making mistakes it’s not going to happen, so Harry did the right thing pulling her up because she wasn’t going. If he had kept going she possibly wouldn’t have been here today.

Galia Des Liteaux (right) in full flight under Harry Skelton
Galia Des Liteaux (right) in full flight under Harry Skelton (Nigel French/PA)

“There’s nothing better than a good lady in your corner. I’m very lucky I have my wife, my daughter and now Galia Des Liteaux as well. We’ve done well with the mares over the years, Roxana probably leads the team – she won a Grade One – but this one is obviously very, very good.

“I know she wants slow ground and we know she stays. She won at Bangor because she’s good. She didn’t win there because two miles suits her, she won there because she’s good. So I was always confident and she’s going in the right direction as a chaser.

“We will be respectful of her efforts there today. It is very easy to say we will go for the Towton (at Wetherby) in three weeks’ time because it will be heavy and it will suit her, but I harbour more respect for her than that.

“We could wait another two weeks and consider the Reynoldstown (at Ascot) then that’s fine. If you got a really, really soft Cheltenham then it would come into consideration, but then you would have to skip the Reynoldstown because you couldn’t do both.

“Then I would perhaps get a bit adventurous and see what mares’ races are available over the other side of the Irish Sea because I can’t see any over here jumping off the page at me at the moment other than the Festival.

“I don’t think she won’t perform well on it (better ground), I just think she’s really, really effective in that sort of ground and sometimes when you have a horse who is really effective in it, they are super effective – they can outrun themselves by 20lb or more and I think she is a horse who is reallyy suited by bad ground.

“She’s a lovely mare with a great attitude.”

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