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Dan Skelton's Cheltenham Festival runners

Dan Skelton is now firmly established as one of Britain's leading trainers and he has proved himself on the Cheltenham Festival stage.

Amongst his six Festival wins in the Cotswolds, he's got a Grade 1 success via the Mares' Hurdle win with Roksana in 2019.

After a few barren years, Skelton fired a double in 2023 via Langer Dan and Faivoir in two of the toughest handicaps at the meeting over hurdles.

Often found teaming up with his brother and former champion jockey Harry, the Skelton team will be aiming for more Cotswolds success in 2024. Here we assess some of Dan's leading hopes at the Cheltenham Festival this year.

Horse Racing

Grey Dawning

Grey Dawning has multiple Festival options and Skelton appears sweet on his chances, wherever he turns up.

He has two wins from four starts since going chasing this season, beating former Festival scorer Gaillard Du Mesnil at Haydock over 2m5½f in November.

He then landed the Grade 2 Hampton Novices' Chase at Warwick (3m, soft) in January with a really polished display as he came 14-lengths clear of the field.

Around those runs were solid efforts in defeat behind Stay Away Fay at Exeter and Ginny's Destiny at Cheltenham (2m4½f, soft) in December. Both of those Paul Nicholls-trained winners are considered major contenders heading to Cheltenham.

Grey Dawning trades at 9/4 for the Turners Novices' Chase a day later over a shorter trip.

Though non-committal in a recent interview and keen to consider both, Dan Skelton suggested the Brown Advisory is 'option one'.

L'eau Du Sud

Skelton's record in the County Hurdle is ultra-impressive and means anything he runs in the race needs a close look as he goes for a fifth win.

After finishing second in the Betfair Hurdle recently, L'eau Du Sud is 15/2 for the County Hurdle and the trainer feels that Newbury run behind Iberico Lord was a major step in the right direction for a horse who simply didn't show his best stuff in the Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham in November.

Last year's County winner Faivoir is rated 16/1 to go back-to-back and while his form since is mixed, Skelton suggests he could 'come alive' again for this test.


An honourable fifth in the Gold Cup last spring, Protektorat has failed to win in four starts this season but has been running decent races since disappointing on his return in the Betfair Chase at Haydock in November.

He was third in a valuable Cheltenham handicap over 3m2f in December and has since gone well behind leading Gold Cup contenders L'homme Presse and Shishkin at Lingfield and Newbury to launch his 2024 campaign.

Skelton is realistic in his assessment of the nine-year-old now, telling the Racing Post it is 'evident for all of us to see [that] he's falling short of the Gold Cup markers'.

For that reason the Ryanair Chase is the Festival target now and Protektorat trades at 12/1 for the intermediate Grade 1 on Thursday 14th March. With no Galopin Des Champs, Shishkin et all to concern him there, he could be a very lively outsider.

We will have Cheltenham Horse Racing tips throughout the four days at the Festival.

This article was written by a partner sports writer via Spotlight Sports Group. All odds displayed on this page were correct at the time of writing and are subject to withdrawal or change at any time.

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