Skelton steers Oldgrangewood to victory at Newbury


Oldgrangewood (Dan Skelton/Harry Skelton, 11st 7lb, 6/1) came with a superbly-timed run to take the day's joint-richest race, the £50,000 Ladbrokes Open Handicap Chase over two and a half miles.


The six-year-old delivered his challenge between the last two fences and stayed on well to get the better of Jameson (Nigel Twiston-Davies/James Bargary (3), 10st 10lb, 8/1) inside the last half-furlong, scoring by half-a-length. There was another length and a quarter back to top-weight O O Seven (Nicky Henderson/Nico de Boinville, 11st 12lb, 6/1) in third.


Dan Skelton commented: "If you watch going to two out, Oldgrangewood hangs outwards. There are still signs of immaturity, but we have hoped he can get up there and get going into this type of grade. He is now showing he belongs here after a good run in the Old Roan.


"I think these types of tracks are quite important to him - these wide open tracks. Maybe next year you could see him starting around Wetherby and up in trip. You see Harry at a couple down the back has had to organise him and I think if you went around a tighter track, you could end up getting in a bit of hassle with the horse.


"He is progressive and that is the nice thing. Obviously, I have got to talk to Chris [Giles] and his mother Sandra who own him, but really long term I would imagine maybe Aintree [could be a target] given he ran well there last time. He is in the December Gold Cup (at Cheltenham later this month) but that may come too soon. He has earned a step up in grade."


Harry Skelton said: "It was a nice race, I have gone a nice even gallop and he did well to stand up two fences out, when he ran into the bottom of it. He is a progressive horse and, if you look at his first run back at Chepstow when Misterton won, he had Elgin behind him so it was a really good run over hurdles.


"He ran really well in the Old Roan Chase and has come back today. He is quite a progressive horse and is going the right way. We will keep our options open - we have kept him on flat tracks and he has taken a bit of time to come to hand at home.


"It's nice to come racing today and get a nice winner at these big meetings. The horses have been flying and it's just nice for everyone to have a big winner.


"Oldgrangewood was good. He is a horse we have taken our time with a little bit - he was a bit immature - but he is really getting the hang of things now.


"These sort of tracks - big, galloping tracks - suit him well because it gives me time to help him. He lugs on one rein a bit and prefers to go left-handed. That was a nice performance today.


"He is a little bit green and still a bit immature. The ability is there but it is about putting the pieces of the puzzle in the right place.


"He will definitely get further in time. I think once you go three miles, it is very hard to turn round and come back to two and a half. We will have to think about that a little but definitely next year we could be coming back here for the big race tomorrow.


"Dan has done a brilliant job placing him and the owner Chris Giles has given the time that the horse he needs."