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"It is frustrating watching it" - Skelton frustration watching Mullins' "freebie" at Leopardstown

  • We bring you some key quotes from Dan Skelton this week
  • Skelton said it was frustrating watching Willie Mullins dominate the Dublin Racing Festival
  • The Cheltenham Festival winner claimed a lack of opposition means Mullins' Grade One horses have an easier prep
  • Skelton also provided updates on Allmankind and Nube Negra ahead of their trips to Cheltenham
dan skelton
Trainer Dan Skelton at Exeter. (Getty)

This weekend's racing at Leopardstown made for captivating viewing. 

Those who watched both days of the Dublin Racing Festival were treated to several outstanding performances, and the meeting really highlighted the quality Ireland will bring with them to the Cheltenham Festival next month.

One onlooker who wasn't so impressed with the action at Leopardstown was Dan Skelton. The two-time Cheltenham Festival winning trainer spoke to Sky Sports this week, and was keen to lament the lack of opposition Willie Mullins' horses encountered during their races.

"It is frustrating watching it." Skelton said. "The lack of resistance means you are getting prep races in Grade Ones that aren't taking anything out of his horses."

"When Willie has a horse in a race he's basically getting a freebie around the track in Ireland."

"I actually think preparation makes champions. The less you take out of the tank, the more is in there when you need it."

"That is the thing that makes him (Mullins) difficult to beat at Cheltenham, that his prep is easier than everybody else because his horses don't have to go into the red in their prep races."

"Who is taking the easier route to the biggest day? This is where I think the magnification of Cheltenham is a potential downfall because people know they are going to get a hard race there. They are avoiding hard races en route because they want to go there with their biggest chance."

"That is why I think some races outside of Cheltenham Festival aren't as supported as they should be because they (trainers and connections) know they are going to get a hard race. If they have a hard race, it's going to be harder to get over."

Allmankind winning the Henry VIII Novices' Chase at Sandown. (Getty)

Despite his misgivings, Skelton still fancies the chances of his two leading chasers at the Cheltenham Festival. 

Allmankind has Shishkin and Energumene to overcome in the Arkle. The following day will see Altior's Christmas conquerer, Nube Negra square off against Chacun Pour Soi in the Champion Chase.

"I'm not frightened of taking Chacun Pour Soi on with Nube Negra because I know we will be in our comfort zone," Skelton continued.

"He travels so well and however fast they go.I feel if we get a good round of jumping to the back of three out we've probably got as much in the tank as we possibly can to go up the hill. And I think it's game on then. We're going to ride Nube Negra for speed."

"Nothing frightens me with the way the race is going to be run with Nube Negra, because I've got a confident feeling we're the fastest horse in the race,"

"Allmankind is not the type of horse who you'd be complaining about ground or track. He is just a simple horse. He just loves to run. Any opportunity you give him to run, he grasps it with both hands and gets on with it and loves it."

"At Cheltenham, things can happen. The Arkle is a horse race at the end of the day. They are three very talented, very genuine horses. We always knew Shishkin was going to be a shorter price than us going into the Festival,"

"He won the Supreme and as long as he can jump fences economically he is going to be the favourite or near favourite based on last year's performances.

"Energumene is obviously a much better chaser than he was a hurdler. He's an attacking chasing type and has looked very good. He has looked unbeatable on what he has done so far, but Cheltenham is a different track and things can happen."

Allmankind is an 10/1 shot for the Arkle with bookmakers Ladbrokes, behind both Shishkin and Energumene. Ladbrokes also make Nube Negra a 10/1 shot for the Queen Mother, behind 4/6 favourite Chacun Pour Soi.

Nube Negra2021 Champion Chase ContenderGET 10/1 HERE
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