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Dan Skelton admits temptation of Stayers’ Hurdle crack with Roksana may be too much to ignore at Cheltenham Festival

, Dan Skelton admits temptation of Stayers’ Hurdle crack with Roksana may be too much to ignore at Cheltenham Festival

DAN SKELTON is ready to Rok and roll his way to the Stayers’ Hurdle.

Star mare Roksana landed her second Grade 2 of the season at a canter at Ascot on Saturday.

Roksana has been ‘at her best’ this season according to Skelton

And her trainer admits it will be hard not to have another crack at Thyme Hill and Paisley Park in the three-mile Grade 1 come Festival time.

Skelton said: “We were delighted with her, she just seems to be at her best this year.

“She’s strong enough to get three miles really well and she’s just improved through time, she’s just a pleasure to have about the place.

“She’s won two Grade 2s this year, and I know Cheltenham will be on everyone’s lips, but at the end of the day she’s already had a great season and I hope that can continue into the spring.

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“If she can go up to the next level and beat the competition at those tracks, it remains to be seen. 

“But we don’t hold any fears, that’s for sure, we won’t go running. Other horses will definitely have harder prep races than she has.”

After her latest win the bookies shortened the nine-year-old into a general 10-1 for the Stayers’ while she remained an 8-1 poke for the Mares’ Hurdle.

And Skelton has also hinted she might be back as a ten-year-old next season.

Skelton is enjoying another good season and sits ahead of Nicky Henderson in second in the trainers championship

He added: “At the end of the day the Mares’ hurdle is stacked high with Irish quality, and then the Stayers’ Hurdle has got two that we’ve had a go at and have been beaten by already.

“They’re both pretty daunting tasks, but she hasn’t had the hardest time in the world so far and that will stand her in good stead.

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“We’ll always be optimistic and have her there in her best condition. She’s looked brilliant this year and she’ll run her race, we know that.

“Everyone can see she’s best at three miles now, and unless the mares’ race cuts up significantly I think we’d have another crack at the Stayers’.

“I just feel that trip probably brings the best out of her.

“At the start of the year we half-presumed it might be her last year, but I’d be very keen to reassess the situation.

“I’d say if she’s in this form she’d be wanting to come back herself, let alone what I think.”

Skelton’s Ascot Grade 2 winner My Drogo is on course for a run at Huntingdon in the Sidney Banks, a race won by Shishkin last season.

Skelton said: “My Drogo goes to Huntingdon on the 11th for the Sidney Banks Hurdle.

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“We’ll have a think after that. If he was to run at Cheltenham I think it would be the Ballymore but he’s not necessarily committed to that. We may miss it entirely.”


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