Harry Skelton's Ultimate Racehorse

The Ultimate Racehorse… Every owner dreams of owning one, every trainer dreams of training one and every jockey dreams of riding one.

We asked this year’s Champions Jockey, Harry Skelton, what his would look like…

 

Head – Kauto Star

It comes as no great shock that one of the all-time greats makes up a segment of Skelton’s ultimate racehorse. Five King George VI Chases, four Betfair Chases, two Cheltenham Gold Cups and two Tingle Creeks somewhat don’t do justice to what an incredible racehorse Kauto Star was.

Trained by Paul Nicholls, the gelding was a very smart type – hence being a ‘head’ selection for Skelton – and had the swagger of a horse that knew its job. With wins over a range of distances, ranging from two miles up to three miles, two furlongs, Kauto Star was a very determined horse that was always willing to battle for his jockey.

 

Heart – Virgilio

With 26 runs under his belt, Virgilio is the ‘heart’ selection for Skelton. Trained by his brother Dan, the gelding earned a total of £191,872 in total, with huge runs in handicaps at Aintree and Cheltenham to show for his efforts. Virgilio also ran in the Grand National once, where he was ridden by Harry, but fell at Becher’s.

The Champion Jockey rode Virgilio for the majority of his career – especially when he was a top prospect in the early stages of his career after a smooth debut run at Warwick – and the pair formed quite the connection. The 13-year-old would always give his all and was the ultimate trier.

 

Jumping Ability – Politologue

Recently retired Politologue was a real favourite at the Nicholls yard, and not just amongst racing fans. The 10-year-old gave Skelton one of his four Cheltenham Festival wins, cruising to victory in the Queen Mother Champion Chase in 2019.

The grey was likened to the likes of Master Minded after some of his emphatic victories, with his jumping gaining most of the plaudits. Politologue was a superb jumper and incredibly slick through the air, having the know-how to put himself right when not on the best stride. The gelding’s jumping made him incredibly hard to catch from out in front over the years and it is no surprise that he features somewhere in Skelton’s ultimate racehorse. 

 

Speed – Master Minded

The youngest horse to ever win the Queen Mother Champion Chase, Master Minded, was a very successful chaser and had plenty of raw pace. Nicholls’ French recruit won the Tingle Creek twice and the Queen Mother twice before going on to win the Melling Chase in 2011.

The way Master Minded travelled through races was often the difference between him and his opposition, racing just off of the pace and naturally jumping his way into contention then, when asked for his effort, he would find plenty to draw clear from the pack. The gelding had a nice turn of foot but it was the way that he moved through the gears effortlessly that made him such a pleasure to watch, and he is a great ‘speed’ selection by Skelton.

 

Stamina – Denman

Another Nicholls trained superstar for Skelton, but who can blame the Champion Jockey? There surely is not a more fitting ‘stamina’ selection than a horse nicknamed ‘The Engine’ by some punters. Denman was a superb racehorse and earned over £1million in prize money over the years.

He beat Kauto Star in the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2008, cruising clear to win in taking fashion by approximately seven lengths. But, just as impressively, the gelding won two Hennessy Gold Cups, now known as the Ladbrokes Trophy, off top-weight, showcasing both class and willpower when winning easily on both occasions. He was an out and out stayer and always gave his all.