Warwickshire based trainer Dan Skelton enjoyed a solid 2020/21 season with his growing yard and will be optimistic for the next National Hunt campaign, and especially for his fortunes at the Cheltenham Festival in 2022. There were a number of horses that performed to a high standard over the course of the term, and Skelton will be eager to get them back out on the track to fulfil their potential.
The British-bred is perhaps the best horse Skelton has at his disposal, and he performed to a high standard during the campaign with four victories from his six races. Allmankind did not have the best start to the season, placing in third at the Masterson Holdings Hurdle at Cheltenham when he was considered the favourite. However, he bounced back with assured outings at Warwick and Sandown to send him into the new year with momentum.
Skelton’s charge faced a talented field in the Kingmaker Novices’ Chase at Warwick, but delivered on expectations to win his third race on the bounce. Allmankind faced off against the outstanding Shishkin in the Arkle Chase at Cheltenham. The five-year-old failed to rise to the occasion against Nicky Henderson’s charge and finished fourth of five competitors. He ended the season on a high note with a dominant victory in the Future Champion Novices’ Chase at Ayr, but he needs to raise his standard against elite competitors to challenge for major honours.
The six-year-old will carry a run of four-straight wins into the next campaign. Skelton and his team should be very excited about his potential for the new season. My Drogo only made his debut in October and flashed his talent by finishing second in a flat race at Cheltenham. He claimed his first victory in his debut over hurdles at Newbury before winning the Supreme Trial Novices’ Hurdle at Ascot as a 9/1 outsider. Skelton opted against placing his charge in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham Festival, and instead sent him to run at Kelso.
My Drogo continued his winning run with a strong outing in the Premier Novices’ Hurdle, beating his nearest competitor by nine-and-a-half lengths. The British-bred ended the season with an excellent outing in the Grade I Mersey Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree, overcoming a talented field to claim victory. He could be a good shout for the Arkle Chase in the horse racing betting odds at the 2022 Cheltenham Festival, based on his form from last term.
Protektorat enjoyed an excellent season and will be one of the contenders for the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham Festival in 2022, although honours could come sooner in the King George VI Chase in December. After an underwhelming performance in the Coral Cup at Cheltenham in 2020, Protektorat had a great start to the new term notching back-to-back victories at Carlisle then Cheltenham.
However, he suffered setbacks at Wincanton and Kelso at the start of the month before undergoing wind surgery, which ruled him out of the Cheltenham Festival. Protektorat returned to the track at Aintree and put in a sublime outing to win the Manifesto Novices’ Chase. Skelton faces a challenge to prepare his charge for the tough challenges ahead, but he certainly has a live contender on his hands.
Aren’t we lucky to have a trainer with this calibre of horses in our midst?