Skelton still eight ahead of Hughes after title-chasing pair draw Sedgefield blank

Harry Skelton still holds an advantage of eight over title-holder Brian Hughes in the race to be champion jump jockey after both drew a blank at Sedgefield on Tuesday.

Skelton was left the more frustrated as he had four seconds from his book of rides, to stay on 148 for the season that ends on Saturday.

And he picked up a four-day ban (May 4-7) for careless riding when finishing fifth on Dubai Guest behind Millie The Minx (7-1) in the Carpet Gallop For The Professional Trainer Handicap Hurdle. Thankfully for Skelton, the upcoming suspension has no bearing on his title aspirations.

His bout of seconditis began on Costly Diamond, who led to the final fence where Valence D’Aumont (5-1) took over in the hands of Ryan Mania.

The Sue Smith-trained seven-year-old got the better of Dan Skelton’s charge to prevail by a neck in the Call carpetgallop.co.uk 01785719991 Handicap Chase.

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The winning connections denied Skelton on Ambassador as they completed a quick double with Burrows Diamond (9-4) in the Dust Free Horse Bedding Envirobed 01785719996 Handicap.

“The horse has done it really well,” Mania told Sky Sports Racing.

“I wasn’t sure how the form would hold up from her last run as she did it so easily and I wasn’t sure what was in behind me.

“But she has certainly has improved for that performance, has got her confidence and has done it really nicely.

“A strongly-run two miles is perfect and this ground has been the key to her.”

Skelton had a third successive second place when Getariver found Road Warrior (100-30 joint-favourite) too good in the Envirobed 01785719996 after he dropped his whip in the closing stages.

Rebecca Menzies’ seven-year-old kept finding for Kane Yeoman and gave the 7lb claimer a ninth career triumph.

Skelton’s forcing tactics looked like paying off on Get Sky High in the concluding bumper, but the 6-4 favourite was worn down by Martha Willow.

Jedd O’Keeffe’s four-year-old filly went on to score by five and a half lengths.

A third place was the best Hughes could muster, although he looked unlucky in the opening carpetgallop.co.uk 01785719991 maiden hurdle.

He was leading on Malpas when his mount came down at the second-last. Hughes then got a glancing blow from Miss Smartypants, who also came down at that flight, when he tried to take evasive action.

However, he was quickly on his feet and none the worse.

The race went to the Roger Fell-trained Spantik (13-2), ridden by Alain Cawley.

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