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Press Release 14th March 2024 Cheltenham



Thursday 14th March

Grey Dawning, the 5/2 joint-favourite, provided brothers Dan and Harry Skelton with a third winner at The Festival 2024 with a pulsating victory in the Grade 1 Turners Novices’ Chase.

Harry rode Robert Kirkland’s grey seven-year-old close to the pace, jumping up alongside the Paul Nicholls-trained, Harry Cobden-ridden Ginny’s Destiny at the fourth-last fence and taking the lead before the final obstacle.

“Thank you, Cheltenham! It is unbelievable, this place,” Harry Skelton said to ITV Racing immediately after the race.

“He was great today. Dan got the right race; there was a long discussion about it, but we just thought the ground and that galloping track that would suit him down to a tee.

“Everything went just perfect. I followed Harry Cobden and thought, ‘when I get to the top of the hill, I’ll just swing upsides him’. He absolutely pinged down over the last two. He’s a very good horse. Absolutely brilliant. Robert Kirkland, who owns him, has been a great supporter and he deserves a real good horse like this.”

He continued: “He [Grey Dawning] is brilliant. He’s so unassuming I promise you, you wouldn’t believe it – he doesn’t know how good he is, but, hopefully, he is a bit special.”

Dan Skelton said: “He’s a lovely horse, isn’t he? He’s just a top-class horse. We had such hopes for him. When you go and win two bumpers at the start of your life and you’re destined to be a chaser, you just want it to happen, and to win a Grade 1 novice here is great and gives us all that future to look forward to.“We won a Grade 1 novice with Protektorat and others, but I’m bold enough to say that this horse is at least as good and potentially could be better, and that’s not taking anything away from the ones that have been before.

“People who were surprised that we chose this race won’t be surprised now. I just thought it was a good novices’ chase that he and Ginny’s Destiny ran in here in December, and that’s been proven so. They were first and second, so Rule Britannia! That was exactly how we wanted the race to go, and I think it speaks volumes about how good the horse is that we didn’t need a plan B. It’s great to have such a horse, and being that colour [grey] he might get a following.”

Harry Cobden, who rode runner-up Ginny’s Destiny, said: “He ran a blinder. He’s a very good horse and I’m very pleased with him. He’s run right up to his best. The only fence I missed I think was the second-last, when he got in a bit deep, but apart from that we had a fantastic spin and the best horse has probably won.”

Ginny’s Destiny’s trainer Paul Nicholls said: “It was a fantastic run. He has run his heart out. If he had landed upsides Grey Dawning after the second-last, who knows what would have happened. He is a good horse and I think he will get three miles in time. If he is OK, we could look at going to Aintree with him.”

The Venetia Williams-trained Djelo finished third under Charlie Deutsch. Williams said: “I’m really pleased with him. I thought we had a chance of being in the shake-up and he has run a super race.

“The winner is a three-miler coming back to two-and-a-half, and we are a two- to two-and-a-half-mile horse. There is no need to change his trip for the time being. 

“I don’t know if he will go to Aintree after this.”


1.30pm Turners Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) 2m 5f

  1. Grey Dawning 5/2 joint-favourite
  2. Ginny’s Destiny 11/2
  3. Djelo 25/1

11 ran

Distances: 2L, 8L, 21/2l

Time: 5m 4.64s

6th winner at The Festival for jockey Harry Skelton

7th winner at The Festival for trainer Dan Skelton


Ireland 10

Great Britain 4


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