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Skelton brothers can hit jackpot with Denmead

 

In running: Harry Skelton on board Denmead at Huntingdon
In running: Harry Skelton on board Denmead at Huntingdon

By Michael Verney

With €100k (£87k) up for grabs in today's RYBO Handicap Hurdle (4.40pm) at Fairyhouse, it's no wonder that it has attracted a few English raiders.

Dan Skelton has been taking all before him and hit the 200-winner mark this season -the vast majority ridden by his brother Harry - following a sensational across the card six-timer on Sunday and he relies on Denmead, with the six-year-old a live contender.

The Champs Elysees gelding scored comfortably in a Wetherby novice hurdle last month and can make the frame in a competitive affair off a handy weight (10-6).

Another raider with a decent chance is Nicky Henderson's Countister - one of four representing JP McManus - and Mark Walsh's mount has obvious credentials after his County Hurdle third at Cheltenham.

Willie Mullins has landed five of the last seven renewals and sends three into battle today, with Ruby Walsh opting for Mr Adjudicator over Cut The Mustard as Ask Susan carries just 9-10 under Danny Mullins.

Mr Adjudicator is a live contender for the red-hot Walsh, but in a race which has proved to be a bookie bonanza - just one favourite has obliged in the last 10 years - it can pay to side with the Skeltons and Denmead.

Mullins looks to hold all the aces in the Grade Three Mares Chase (3.10pm) with little to separate Pravalaguna and Camelia De Cotte, both exciting types open to more improvement.

Joseph O'Brien's course and distance winner Slowmotion may also come into the equation but Pravalaguna and Walsh are tipped to bounce back from a disappointing run in the JLT at the Festival to score.

The ladies take centre stage in the Ratoath Pharmacy Ladies National Handicap Chase (3.40pm) where Matthew Smith's The Church Gate can recoup his Limerick losses, while Walsh and Mullins may be the men to follow in the Novice Handicap Hurdle Series Final (4.10pm) as the best is unlikely to have been seen of My Sister Sarah just yet.

Meanwhile, a slightly uncertain weather forecast after a red-hot Bank Holiday weekend is giving Sandown's Clerk of the Course Andrew Cooper pause for thought.

With a Flat meeting to prepare for on Friday and the finale of the National Hunt season on Saturday, Cooper has a tricky decision to make.

Rain is forecast from tomorrow, but with none having fallen for almost two weeks, a watering process has been ongoing.

"The sensitivity is probably greater for Flat racing," said Cooper. "It's a tricky forecast in the sense that the volume of rain from Wednesday onwards sounds like it will be showery in nature.

"Today, it would be good to firm. We'll put five millimetres on today and I hope that will be it in terms of the Flat course, but we'll continue on the jumps."

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