My Drogo delivers for Dan Skelton in Newbury opener

My Drogo appears to have a bright future after securing a surprise success in the Watch Racing Free Online At Ladbrokes “National Hunt” Maiden Hurdle at Newbury.

All eyes were on Flinteur Sacre, a brother of multiple Grade One winner Sprinter Sacre, but it was the Dan Skelton-trained My Drogo who opened his account over hurdles at the first time of asking.

Despite being novicey at a number of his hurdles, the 100-30 shot found plenty up the run in after forging clear late on to defeat Saggazza by a length and a quarter, with Flinteur Sacre finishing a disappointing fourth.

Skelton said: “I was expecting plenty, especially after his good run at Cheltenham (second last month). I know he went off 50-1 in a bumper there, but that didn’t reflect what we thought. At home he has always been very precious.

“He had been so good jumping at home, I was a bit surprised he went out there and was very novicey at the second and splattered the fourth. The third last was brilliant and the last wasn’t great either. I think it showed what a big engine he has to overcome all that.”

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The Alcester handler will continue to take small steps with My Drogo, who was introduced at 33-1 for the Supreme and 25-1 for the Ballymore by Ladbrokes, before taking aim at bigger targets.

He added: “We will perhaps go one more low key before going fancy – I just don’t think he is ready for those types of day yet. As we get through the season into the spring, I think he will be a two-and-a-half-mile horse.”

Elusive Belle appeared to appreciate a return to better ground when scoring over fences at the second time of asking in the Ladbrokes Daily Odds Boosts Chase.

Having found testing conditions against her in a Listed contest on her chasing debut at Bangor, the Nicky Henderson-trained six-year-old looked much happier on a sounder surface, running out a four-length winner.

Henderson said of the 13-2 winner: “It was bottomless, heavy ground at Bangor that was almost unraceable. She got quite tired in that ground and I think anybody would have. She was much happier on that ground. Sam (Waley-Cohen) gave her a really good ride.

“Two miles is her trip and they went a right good gallop as she can go some. She won’t be one for the mares’ chase at Cheltenham as she won’t get the trip, she could be one for a Grand Annual later on.”

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Paul Nicholls will step Bravemansgame up to Grade One company on his next start following his facile success in the Play Ladbrokes 5-A-Side On Football Novices’ Hurdle.

The five-year-old barely had to get out of second gear to add to his recent Exeter success, with the 8-11 favourite gradually winding up the pace entering the home straight before cruising home seven and a half lengths clear of Es Perfecto.

Nicholls said: “He did that well and we thought we would do that en route to coming back for the Challow here.

“After his last run, we were thinking about going straight to the Challow, but I just felt he came out of his last race so well that we would give him another run for experience before going for a Grade One.”

Bravemansgame was introduced at 16-1 for the Ballymore by Ladbrokes, while Paddy Power offer 25-1 for the same contest.

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