Dan Skelton will be celebrating his birthday this Friday and will be hoping to have some winners to add to his celebrations. The Midlands trainer has a very strong record at Aintree this season, going into the meeting with a 23 per cent strike rate and a £1 level stakes profit of £44.03.
As such, I have picked out three of Skelton’s runners that could be combined for an accumulator to celebrate his birthday in style at the Grand National Festival.
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1.45 Wilde About Oscar
A winner over course and distance in November, Wilde About Oscar has been almost faultless this season. The only blip on his record is when he was pulled up behind Bravemansgame after making a mistake.
Since then he has improved again and proved himself to be versatile, winning over 2m1f on heavy ground before scoring last time out over 2m4f on good to soft. He will get the latter conditions here and even off top weight should take some stopping.
The four pound rise for his last win may not be enough to halt this progressive horse’s improvement.
2.20 Third Time Lucki
Skelton’s Third Time Lucki was well fancied for the County Hurdle at Cheltenham before running a creditable sixth. He is much better at the weights with reopposing winner Belfast Banter and can reverse the placings.
He probably got to the front too soon at Cheltenham and a change in tactics could see even more improvement. Three from six over hurdles and off level weights, he has a great chance here.
2.50 Shan Blue
Shan Blue was a slight disappointment at Cheltenham when going off too hard before tiring late. If he is ridden with more restraint this time, this track should suit.
He ran a good race behind Sporting John at Newbury before that when the ground was probably too soft for him and back on a sounder surface he can resume his improvement.
This gelding is a very good jumper and could get an easy lead, using his powerful style to run his opponents out of it.