Comfort was Dan Skelton’s dominant emotion after seeing My Drogo get back on the winning track at Bearrene.com Novices’ Chase in Cheltenham.
Having finished an unbeaten hurdles campaign with a first-class win at Aintree, the six-year-old has been widely seen as one of Britain’s brightest hopes in the Junior Manhunt League this season.
It was a warm order to make a successful start to his career on the fences at Prestbury Park last month, but he stumbled on the touchdown and slipped and fell for second.
My Drogo was the 2-9 favorite for the rebound on his return to the Cotswolds – and while he was very brave for his good in two fences, there was no doubting his supremacy as he came home seven lengths in hand over Torn And Frayed under jockey Harry Skelton.
“It’s a sigh of relief,” Dan Skelton then admitted.
“He made two mistakes I won’t call them, but they are brave ones. And the two he didn’t understand perfectly, he was far from and still is committed, which I am glad of, because I don’t want them to change their minds.”
“Harry was so happy with him. We are all relieved that it’s over and we have one out of the way.
“It got hacked at the end and it’s obviously very good.
“Visually, it’s not silky, but it doesn’t have to be silky—the result is what matters.
“I know you’d love to see it silky and smooth, but that’s not in the nature of this horse. He’s a little fidgety and a bit of a horse on the edge — he’s been like that his whole life.”
My Drogo could return to Cheltenham next month ahead of the festival in March, as Skelton is keen to give his charge more experience.
He added, “Every day is a competition for him, he considers it a game and not a serious thing. He comes down to the fences and thinks ‘how far can we get this’?”
“It’s not a concern, but it’s something we have to iron out and I think the way to do that is to get it a few times.
“We are not afraid to manage it. We will get into the Dipper again here on New Years Day and if we don’t then we will go somewhere else.
“You wouldn’t dare go three miles, more than two miles, you have to be very aggressive and that would encourage him to take a lot of chances, so we will stick to two and a half for now.”
Nick Williams-trained Interne De Sivola built on the promise of his hurdles debut with a clear victory in the JCB Triumph Trial.
The youngster finished third behind Dan Skelton’s exciting out-of-this-world prospect at Warwick last month, a form bolstered by the success of runner-up Greyston at the same venue earlier this week.
Chester’s son, Interne De Sivola had his rivals in trouble away from home in his second start and was five and a half lengths away from favorite Yorkie 5-2 on the goal line.
“He did really well in what was a really good race in Warwick and we thought he’d improve because he had never run in the flat,” Williams said.
“This was the strongest event race of the season so far at Warwick. The 30 good horses of length were beaten that day and one very good skelton, of course.
“He (Inter de Civola) is still good and has strong pedigree. It’s a very good prospect.
“We don’t have an actual plan. We said we’ll see what happens today, but he won very well and (the Al Mana victory) is a possibility.”