Tag Archive for: Blaklion

Blaklion roars home for Skelton team

Trainer Dan Skelton was thrilled to see Blaklion continue his resurgence with a bloodless victory in the Last Fling Handicap Chase at Haydock.

Bought for six figures by owner Darren Yates in 2019, results have been largely disappointing since, although he did manage to finish sixth in the Grand National last spring.

Blaklion registered his first success since winning the Becher Chase over the National fences four years ago when making most of the running in a veterans’ chase at Haydock at the start of the month.

And while he will officially turn 13 on Saturday, Skelton’s charge proved the fire still burns bright with an even more dominant front-running display on his return to Merseyside.

Ridden by the trainer’s brother Harry, Blaklion jumped impeccably throughout and already had his rivals in serious trouble before the home turn.

While the remainder were struggling to put one foot in front of the other in demanding conditions, the leader continued on his merry way and a huge leap at the final fence sealed his 28-length success.

Dan Skelton said: “He’s a credit to himself that he’s kept his enthusiasm as long as has and he’s in fantastic nick.

“I wouldn’t say he’s better than ever as I didn’t have him as a younger horse, but he’s the best I’ve ever had him. He’s remarkable and a pleasure to have about the place.

“I think the last win probably just topped up his enthusiasm and he probably thought it was all possible again. It never looked in doubt today – he was magic.”

Dan Skelton at Uttoxeter
Dan Skelton at Uttoxeter (Mike Egerton/PA)

The trainer is now eyeing another bid for National glory, adding: “We’ll give him an entry and see what the handicapper has to say and go from there.

“We’ll see what the handicapper does next Tuesday to give us an idea of what our potential fate might be for the Grand National.

“He’s good round those fences and we’ve got to take it seriously.”

The Jennie Candlish-trained Mint Condition stayed on best to secure top honours in the Campbell Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase.

Ashtown Lad was in a clear lead jumping the final fence for the Skelton brothers, but was mowed down late by 7-2 chance Mint Condition and Henry Brooke. Bushypark was 85 lengths further behind in third.

Jungle Jack maintained his unbeaten record in the EBF ‘National Hunt’ Novices’ Hurdle.

A point-to-point winner in Ireland for Colin Bowe last year, the son of Doyen made a successful debut for Donald McCain and Brian Hughes at Sedgefield in early December.

Conceding weight to all but one of his opponents, Jungle Jack dug deep to seal a half-length verdict over another point-to-point scorer in Captain Broomfield.

McCain said: “He’s still quite babyish and still doing a good bit wrong, but he’s a nice horse.

Donald McCain is enjoying an excellent season
Donald McCain is enjoying an excellent season (Mike Egerton/PA)

“I think it’s nearly better than them being impressive all the time. He’s doing a lot wrong and still getting the job done. Hopefully he’s got a nice future ahead of him.

“He’s going to jump a fence and he’s going to take time, so we’re in no hurry this season.”

The formidable McCain-Hughes combination doubled up with Forpaddytheplumber (100-30) in the concluding Raglan Open National Hunt Flat Race.

Blaklion jumps rivals into submission at Haydock

Blaklion rolled back the years with a tremendous front-running display in the Jewson Altrincham Veterans’ Handicap Chase at Haydock.

The 12-year-old, who won the RSA Chase at the 2016 Cheltenham Festival, had not managed to get his head in front since winning the Becher Chase over Aintree’s Grand National fences almost four years ago.

Results have been largely disappointing since being snapped up by owner Darren Yates in 2019 and joining Dan Skelton, although he did manage to finish sixth in the Grand National itself last spring.

With a comeback run at Bangor three weeks ago blowing away any cobwebs, Blaklion was a 3-1 shot for his latest assignment and jumped impeccably in front under champion jockey Harry Skelton.

Another name familiar to jumps fans, the Venetia Williams-trained Aso, looked a big danger after jumping the final fence, but the leader dug deep and had almost four lengths in hand at the line.

Harry Skelton said: “That was great today. The horse is a credit to himself really and for older horses to have the opportunity to run in races like this is fantastic.

“He gave me a great ride and the horse deserves it. At home he shows all that old enthusiasm and it’s great for Darren and Annaley (owner’s wife) – they put a lot in and they’ve had a fantastic day.

“It’s just brilliant and what National Hunt racing is all about.”

A Different Kind (7-4) made it four from four since joining Donald McCain in the preceding Oakmere Homes “Introductory” Hurdle.

Runner-up on his sole start in the Irish point-to-point field, the four-year-old had since won two bumpers and a novice hurdle at Sedgefield.

The son of Doyen was not even favourite to beat two rivals on Merseyside, but knuckled down for Brian Hughes to give weight and a one-length beating to 8-11 shot Green Book.

“He has just done everything we wanted him to do. Maybe he didn’t love the ground but he is just good at his job,” said McCain.

“We will have a look at the Rossington Main (at Haydock in January). We can certainly have a look, as he has not been beaten yet. There is no reason why we can’t consider races like that, we’ll just see what the ground is in the meantime.

“It was a difficult sort of race to ride today – we didn’t quite know what to do for the best on what was bad ground. They had previously run two three-mile hurdle races on it, so Brian kept him out of trouble and he’s picked up and done really well.”