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REPORT | The April Meeting: Day One – The Skeltons dominate the opening day at Cheltenham

A quickfire double on day one of the April Meeting puts Harry Skelton in the Jockeys’ Championship driving seat

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2D5XAHK Trainer Dan Skelton (left) with brother, jockey Harry Skelton during day two of the Showcase at Cheltenham Racecourse

Harry Skelton added two more victories onto his Jockeys’ Championship tally after recording a double on the first day of the April Meeting at Cheltenham.

The first leg of the double came in the opening race when Faivoir justified odds-on favouritism to land the Join Racing TV Now Novices’ Hurdle.

The gelding tracked the leaders coming around the bend and found himself just in front when jumping the last.

watch: faivoir wins the Join Racing TV Now Novices’ Hurdle for harry and dan skelton [credit: racing tv]

The six-year-old benefitted from Witness Protection’s mistake over the final obstacle, clearing away to win by two and three-quarter lengths.

The Skelton brothers struck again in the Kingston Stud Handicap Hurdle, with the well-backed Proschema coming from the back of the pack to claim victory.

Proschema

The six-year-old was held up in last for the majority of the contest but Harry asked for more coming over the second to last fence, which kicked the gelding into action.

He began to make rapid headway through the pack, jumping past the leading pair of Winds Of Fire and Captain Tom Cat at the final fence.

Dan Skelton’s recruit bolted clear in the home straight, winning convincingly by six and a half lengths.

In the feature race of the card, Manofthemountain made an impressive debut in Graded company after claiming a four and a half-length success in the Silver Trophy Handicap Chase.

WATCH: MANOFTHEMOUNT WINS THE GRADE 2 SILVER TROPHY HANDICAP CHASE FOR EMMA LAVELLE [Credit: @CheltenhamRaces

Emma Lavelle’s gelding jumped prominently throughout and began to make strong headway at three out.

The eight-year-old was going the best of the leading quartet, overtaking Coole Cody at two out and producing a slick jump over the last to pull clear and win comfortably.

Paul Nicholls’ Magic Saint ran a cracker at top weight, travelling well in the closing stages to claim second while Romain De Senam took third.

Ask Dillion gave Fergal O’Brien his 98th victory of the season in the Jockey Club Cheltenham And SW Syndicate Handicap Hurdle, while Domaine De L’Isle kept on well in the final stages to win the Weatherite Handicap Chase for Sean Curran.

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Fergal O’Brien closes in on 100 wins in a season for the first time

Oliver Sherwood’s Jersey Bean made all at top-weight to win the Arkells Brewery Nicholson Holman Chase, while Hooper landed the Cheltenham Pony Racing Authority Graduates Handicap Hurdle for Nicky Henderson.

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