These could well be the best chances for Warwickshire's Dan Skelton to land a winner at the Cheltenham Festival

Dan Skelton looks on prior to The Kingston Stud Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham Racecourse in 2023.Dan Skelton looks on prior to The Kingston Stud Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham Racecourse in 2023.
Dan Skelton looks on prior to The Kingston Stud Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham Racecourse in 2023.
Warwickshire-based horse racing trainer, Dan Skelton, is set to bolster his Cheltenham Festival track record following his two victories in 2023.

With over 35 entries across various races at the upcoming event, Skelton’s aspirations are high.

Here are his top contenders for victory, identified by Oddschecker.

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Grey Dawning 11/4 - Turners’ Novices’ Chase (Thursday 13:30)

Grey Dawning represents Dan Skelton's best chance of a winner at this year's Cheltenham Festival. Priced at odds of 11/4, Grey Dawning stands as the second favourite for Thursday’s opening race, Turners' Novices' Chase, trailing behind Willie Mullins' Fact To File (7/4 favourite). Grey Dawning's most recent run resulted in a win in the Grade 2 Hampton Novices' Chase at Warwick on January 13th 2024.

Over the past 30 days on Oddschecker, Grey Dawning has garnered 13% of all bets placed to win the Turners' Novices' Chase, making him the third most popular bet in that period. Fact To File and Facile Vega are the top two contenders, attracting 26% and 16% of bets, respectively. A victory in the Turners' for Skelton would mark his second-ever Grade 1 triumph at the Cheltenham Festival (following Roksana's win in the 2019 Mares' Hurdle). It is worth noting that Grey Dawning is also entered in the Brown Advisory, currently valued as a 5/1 fourth-favourite.

Langer Dan 7/1 – Coral Cup (Friday 14:10)

After clinching victory in this race in 2023, Dan Skelton intends to field Langer Dan in the Coral Cup once again this year to defend his title. However, Langer Dan's lacklustre performances this season – recording finishes of 6th, Pulled Up, 9th, and 14th – present less than an ideal buildup. Nonetheless, Skelton remains focused on securing a win with Langer Dan in what will be his fifth Cheltenham Festival appearance.

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In terms of betting data for this race, Langer Dan ranks as the third most backed selection on Oddschecker over the last 30 days, attracting 9% of total bets. Betting favourites Sa Majeste (6/1) and Doddiethegreat (10/1) are the top two selections, commanding 18% and 12% of bets, respectively.

L’Eau Du Sud 12/1 – County Hurdle

Another handicap hopeful from the Skelton yard emerges in the County Hurdle, where the trainer has no less than five entries. Bookmakers rate L’Eau Du Sud as the strongest contender among these five, currently listed at odds of 12/1. Acquired by the Skelton team in October 2022, the six-year-old has had five runouts under Dan Skelton’s guidance. Despite not securing a victory as of yet, L’Eau Du Sud finished only 2 ¼ lengths behind the winner, Iberico Lord, in February’s Betfair Hurdle at Newbury.

Looking at betting data for the County Hurdle, L’eau Du Sud ranks as the fourth most popular win selection on Oddschecker. Over the past 30 days, 6% of bets have backed Dan Skelton’s charge. Market favorite King Of Kingsfield (7/1) is the most popular bet during that period, attracting 16% of all County Hurdle bets.

Nurse Susan 14/1 – Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle (Friday 17:30)

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Entering off back-to-back wins, including one at the Cheltenham December meeting, Dan Skelton will be banking on Nurse Susan to perform well in the festival’s curtain closer. Nurse Susan will be making her second appearance at the festival after finishing fourth in last year’s Ryanair Chase. Currently valued at 14/1, Skelton is confident in her ability to excel, having already triumphed over this same distance at Cheltenham in December.

Despite not being a prominent selection among Oddschecker punters, with only 4% of bets backing her to win the Martin Pipe over the past 30 days, Nurse Susan’s recent successes instil confidence in Skelton's camp. The two market favourites, Quai De Bourbon and Sa Majeste (both 4/1) are the clear favourites among Oddschecker users, commanding 18% and 15% of bets, respectively.

Protektorat 14/1 – Ryanair Chase (Thursday 14:50)

Dan Skelton’s best chance for Grade 1 success lies in the Ryanair Chase, where Protektorat is priced at 14/1. This will be Protektorat’s fourth appearance at the festival, with previous attempts in the Gold Cup resulting in finishes of 3rd in 2022 and 5th in 2023. Attention now turns to a drop-down in trip for the Ryanair, which is run over 2m5f. With some of his rivals potentially opting for other races, Protektorat’s odds could shorten before next Thursday.

Over the past week on Oddschecker, he ranks as the second most backed for the Ryanair Chase, amassing 13% of total bets. Envoi Allen leads the way during the same period, attracting 21% of bets.