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Article 14th January 2023 Warwick

By Nick Seddon

Dan Skelton has admitted that he could well have an exciting prospect on his hands in the form of Grey Dawning (9-2), who picked up a third straight success over hurdles when winning the Ballymore Leamington Novices' Hurdle (2m 5f) at Warwick today – and sealing a near 20-1 Grade Two double on the card in the process.

The six year old arrived here on the back of handicap victories at Exeter and Kempton Park in December and he very much took the step up in grade in his stride, soon asserting after jumping the second last fence in unison with both Ginny’s Destiny and Knowsley Road before going on to score by five lengths.

Grey Dawning was shortened into 16-1 for the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Chase at The Cheltenham Festival on the back of that victory, though Skelton was keen to explain that he was very much keeping his options open with his charge.

He said: “That was really good and there’s not a lot of negatives to say about him really. There’s a lot of positives and we’ve always liked him – it’s a pretty obvious thing to say that we always thought a horse who’d won two bumpers would be good over hurdles – but you’ve got to convert that and I think he has done.

“It was no disgrace to get beaten first time out (at Aintree in November) and I think we needed it that day – and I think the Pipe horse Man At Work that beat us that day is a very nice horse in his own right.

“This horse has got progressive now and he’s just very smart. I had to go to Kempton over Christmas because we were so well-handicapped and we had to come here with something. I had Pembroke in mind for this originally but he will go for the Rossington Main at Haydock next week and when I felt that about Pembroke I started to feel a bit differently about Grey Dawning.

“Harry said he wasn’t loving the ground but he’s getting away with it and it was probably a help that it rained so that the ground was loose.

“He’s going the right way and there’s lots of options, my immediate reaction is he should be going three miles rather than two and a half miles and we have him the Albert Bartlett – and if we’re not happy with that we’ll go to Aintree. I’d be surprised if he ran in anything other than the Friday.”

“It’s lovely to nip down the round and get a Grade Two double at Warwick – I love that!”


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