Alcester trainer Dan Skelton targeting glory with Allmankind at Warwick's rearranged meeting
TOP novice Allmandkind, trained by Alcester's Dan Skelton, is hot favourite to land the latest renewal of Warwick's Agetur Kingmaker Novices' Chase at today's, Monday, rearranged meeting, writes David Hucker.
The meeting had originally been scheduled for Saturday, but was called off the day before as parts of the track were frozen.
With temperatures forecast to rise, it was postponed for two days and, when the covers were lifted on Sunday morning, all the frost had come out of the ground with the going described as soft, good to soft in places on the chase course.
Named after Richard Neville, the 16th Earl of Warwick, the Grade 2 Kingmaker Chase was established in 1991 and boasts a roll-call of top chasers, including Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Long Run.
Skelton's exciting chaser made an impressive winning debut over the Warwick fences in November and followed up in the Grade 1 Planteur At Chapel Stud Henry VIII Novices' Chase at Sandown Park.
A winner of five of his seven races over jumps, Allmankind faces just three opponents, but course winner Sky Pirate and the progressive Cheddleton both have form to suggest that they will prove worthy challengers.
The St Marys Land Warwick Mares' Hurdle (Listed) worth £16,500 sees the first appearance in this country of leading French hurdler Paul's Saga, whose trainer David Cottin has targeted this race as a stepping stone to the Paddy Power Stayers' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
Top rated of the home-trained horses is Eglantine Du Seuil, already a Festival winner and also holding an engagement there next month.
The action gets under way at 1.50pm with the Paddy Power Novices' Hurdle over two miles and five furlongs in which Lecale's Article, a seven-length winner of a Newbury maiden hurdle on his British debut, looks certain to go off an odds-on favourite.