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Top trainer Skelton targets big race double

Dan Skelton, who has made a flying start to the campaign with more than 40 winners on the board already, is targeting a big race double with two of his early-season stars on the opening day of Cartmel’s Barbecue Meeting tomorrow.

 

Skelton’s 41 winners so far is 17 more than the Jonjo O’Neill, who is currently in second place for winners and more than the double the early season tally of his former boss, the champion trainer Paul Nicholls.

Four of those wins have been clocked up by Petrou, who is unbeaten since joining Skelton from Ben Case. The seven-year-old will attempt to complete the five timer in Cartmel’s most valuable race of the year, the £27,000 guaranteed Totescoop6 Cumbria Crystal Cup Handicap Hurdle.

“Petrou is on a roll and is hopefully not done with yet, he will have a tougher task as is mark has gone up 21lbs since he won on his debut for me at Stratford two months ago, but I am hopeful for tomorrow.” said Skelton.

To help protect his mark, Petrou switched to fences last time after three straight handicap wins over hurdles and he took that in his stride with a game defeat of River Of Intrigue at Uttoxeter.

The talented Bridget Andrews takes the ride on Petrou as she will on the front-running Ravens Hill, who has won two of his three races since joining Skelton in March and who goes in the Banks Lyon Jewellers Lady Riders Handicap Hurdle.

The only handicap hurdle in the country restricted to lady jockeys, the race not only carries £10,000 in added prize money, but for the winning rider the bonus of a stunning piece of diamond jewellery worth in excess of £5,000.

“Ravens Hill got off the mark for me at Sedgefield and followed up at Uttoxeter, I am not sure how he will handle the ground but he should be competitive” said Skelton.

The seven-race card gets underway with the Cartmel Lodge Park Novices Hurdle at 1.55pm.

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