In-form Skeltons continue in the winners with Southwell four-timer

Dan and Harry Skelton continued their excellent form ahead of the Cheltenham Festival with a 35-1 four-timer at Southwell on Monday.

Harry Skelton was taking his tally for the season to 106 – and is five behind Brian Hughes in the jockeys’ title race after the reigning champion also rode a winner at Wetherby.

His brother Dan has 112 on the board and is in second place behind Paul Nicholls in the trainers’ championship, which is decided on prize-money.

The Alcester team took the honours at the Nottinghamshire track with Danse Idol, King D’Argent, Rockstar Ronnie and Embole.

The trainer said: “The horses are in good form. I know three were a short price, but that was a good performance by them all and it was a good day out.”

Danse Idol (7-5 favourite) got the ball rolling with hard-fought victory by half a length over long-time leader Northern Beau in the Virgin Bet Mares’ Handicap Chase.

It was much easier for King D’Argent (4-5 favourite), who ran his two rivals into the ground to score by 27 lengths and 30 lengths from Blacko and Glajou in the Virgin Bet Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase.

Rockstar Ronnie had no trouble justifying prohibitive odds of 1-9 in the Virgin Bet Novices’ Hurdle, despite giving 6lb away all round for winning at Kelso last month. The six-year-old made all to beat Lockdown Leader by 14 lengths.

Embole (13-2) brought up the four-timer by following up a recent Wetherby success in the Virgin Bet Handicap Hurdle, coming home nine and a half lengths clear of the field.

Skelton realises the significance of stable form ahead of a big meeting – but also what day-to-day success means, too.

“A bit of form going into Cheltenham stands everyone in good stead and puts a smile on everyone’s face – the staff, owners, everybody,” he said.

“It’s important to have a bit of form going into it, but these races today were important in their own right, for these horses that aren’t going to those Festivals.

“We’ve got to keep the ball rolling every day.”

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