Dan Skelton is keen to get Protektorat back on the racecourse “relatively quickly” following his disappointing defence of the Betfair Chase at Haydock on Saturday.
The eight-year-old was a brilliant winner of the Merseyside Grade One 12 months ago, but after travelling well on the front end for a long way in his bid for back-to-back victories, he weakened out of contention before the home turn and trailed home last of four runners behind Royale Pagaille.
Skelton reported his star chaser to have emerged relatively unscathed on Sunday morning and he plans to give him another run before the end of 2023, after which a tilt at the the £165,000 Fleur de Lys Chase at Lingfield on January 21 is on the agenda.
“He’s a bit stiff, but he’s fine. We’ll get him right and go again,” said the Alcester-based trainer.
“Yesterday wasn’t our day and take nothing away from the winner, it was a fabulous performance.
“We were happy with our horse going into it and I’m not making any excuses. Sometimes you get beat and you’ve just got to dust yourself down and go again.
“What I want to do is run him somewhere relatively quickly, between now and the new year, and then look at the Winter Million race for him. It’s worth an awful lot of money and will probably be run on ground that he’ll really enjoy.”
Protektorat’s options over the festive period include the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day and the Savills Chase at Leopardstown two days later, with nothing off the table at this stage.
Skelton added: “I’ve got to talk to connections first, but there’s only a handful of races that he’s eligible for, so we’ll have to consider them all.”
Other Recent Posts by This Author:
- Aintree officials confident of dealing with any attempt at protest repeat
- Willie Mullins starting to formulate National plans
- Handicapper says to expect just a handful of British-trained National starters
- Long-term National plan coming together for Cromwell and Vanillier
- Elliott assembling bumper squad in search of fourth National