Latenightpass is Dan Skelton's best Grand National chance yet - The Leamington Observer

Latenightpass is Dan Skelton's best Grand National chance yet

Leamington Editorial 19th Mar, 2024   0

Dan Skelton has established himself as one of the leading National Hunt trainers in Great Britain since branching out on his own over a decade ago.

He has enjoyed several Cheltenham Festival winners and won multiple Grade One races, but he has yet to win one of the sport’s most prestigious prizes.

The Champion Hurdle and Gold Cup at Cheltenham have yet to be plundered, while his best result in the Grand National was a sixth-place finish with Blaklion in 2021. This year, though, he has arguably his best chance yet of winning the Aintree spectacular.

Strong record over Grand National fences




If you fancy a Grand National 2024 bet, then Skelton’s Latenightpass at a general 25/1 appears worthy of consideration. Latenightpass has featured prominently in the racing results for races at Aintree in recent years.

Latenightpass has run over the National fences three times previously in the Foxhunters’ Chase when trained by Tom Ellis. In 2021, Latenightpass finished second before winning in 2022 and coming home fourth in the same race 12 months ago.


On each occasion, the horse was ridden by Ellis’ wife Gina Andrews, and since last year’s Foxhunters’ run, Latenightpass has been moved to the Warwickshire-based stable of Skelton.

 

Andrews’ affiliation with the horse has been retained, and the step into open company has shown Latenightpass is capable of mixing it with better horses. Before Christmas, Latenightpass finished second and won over Cheltenham’s cross-country fences before a fifth-place finish over hurdles in mid-February.

That run was designed as Latenightpass’ warm-up for the Grand National and Skelton has long targeted Aintree for the horse. Andrews would be expected to be in the saddle for the Grand National, and the chief concern about Latenightpass’ chances would be the 11-year-old’s age.

Though 11-year-olds won three consecutive renewals of the Grand National from 2012 to 2014, only seven horses aged 11 or older have won the race in the past 30 years. But Latenightpass does not have too many testing miles on the clock for his age, and his experience over the National fences could be crucial.

Skelton has other Grand National contenders

Skelton does have other potential options for the National in his stable. Le Milos was his chief hope last season and appeared to possess the right credentials, but faded to finish 10th.

Le Milos suffered a knee injury in the race, and Skelton suggested in the aftermath that the Grand National would not be on the agenda again. But Skelton has yet to completely rule out the idea, even though Le Milos has only run twice so far this season.

At a similar price to Latenightpass is stablemate Galia Des Liteaux. The mare is unexposed over long-distance trips and showed her potential for the National when staying on smartly to finish second in the Classic Chase at Warwick in January. If the ground is soft or worse when the Grand National is run on April 13, then Galia Des Liteaux could be a live candidate.

But the credentials of Latenightpass are hard to ignore. Skelton thought he had his best National chance 12 months ago with Le Milos. Though that did not pan out as he hoped, he looks to have an even better chance in 2024 with Latenightpass.

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