Skelton's Nube Negra heading straight for Champion Chase at Cheltenham

Dan Skelton is avoiding any potential mishaps for the misfiring Nube Negra and sending the talented gelding straight to the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham 2022.

Team Skelton are skipping any potential banana skins and hoping to prove Nube Negra's class straight off the bat at the Cheltenham Festival 2022.

Beaten just half a length by Put The Kettle On in last season's Champion Chase, Dan Skelton's charge made an impressive reappearance on his return to Cheltenham for last month's Shloer Chase.

The seven-year-old was widely expected to give hot favourite Chacun Pour Soi most to think about in the Tingle Creek, but like the market leader, performed well below par.

While Skelton is keen not to make any excuses for Nube Negra, he feels he will benefit from having a longer break ahead of his bid to bounce back at the Festival in March.

He said: "He's grand – nothing ventured, nothing gained.

"Obviously he can be better than the result and we'll just keep him fresh now until Cheltenham.

"Clearly, he has to be fresh, so we'll go straight for the Champion Chase."

Nube Negra was one of three Skelton big guns who came up short over the weekend, with Third Time Lucki fading out of contention in Sandown's Henry VIII Novices' Chase and Allmankind doing similar in the Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon on Sunday.

"There were no excuses with any of them going into the races. We learned a little bit from each of the runs, as you would hope you would – you always learn, whether you win or lose," Skelton added.

"Third Time Lucki never really got into the same rhythm jumping-wise as he did at Cheltenham last time.

"It was a third run in seven weeks and maybe he can be a little fresher as well, but I'm not making excuses for these horses. I was happy with them going into it and like I said, you learn from it.

"We'll get him freshened up now. He'll probably go to Warwick for the Kingmaker in January and then on to Cheltenham in March.

"Allmankind was just flat – that wasn't him at all. Going up the straight his jumping left was accentuated, but he's won a Grade One right-handed and it's not really an issue when he's on form.

"These top-end races take a lot out of a horse and it takes some time to recover from them."

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