Harry Skelton is the younger son of Olympic gold medal winning showjumper Nick Skelton and stable jockey to his older brother, Dan, at Lodge Hill, near Alcester, Warwickshire in the West Midlands. In 2018/19, Skelton Jnr. enjoyed far and away his most successful season so far, with 178 winners – including his first Grade One winner, Roksana, in the David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival – and over £2 million in prize money.
In the curtailed 2019/20 campaign, his seasonal tally fell to 97 winners, but nonetheless included two more Grade One winners, Allmankind in the Coral Final Juvenile Hurdle at Chepstow and Politologue, trained by Paul Nicholls, in the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. Indeed, Skelton was named Jockey of the Month for March, 2019 as a result of his victory on the latter.
However, Skelton had recorded his first winner at the Cheltenham Festival three years earlier, courtesy of Superb Story, trained by his brother, in the Vincent O’Brien County Handicap Hurdle in 2016. Sent off at 8/1 third-favourite, behind 7/1 joint-favourites Great Fields and Wait For Me, the five-year-old could be called the winner some way from home and ran on strongly in the closing stages to beat Fethard Player by two-and-a-half lengths; in so doing, he also became a first Cheltenham Festival winner for Dan Skelton.
Owned by Khalid Abdullah, trained by John Gosden, Enable has, of as April, 2019, won 10 of her 11 starts and just over £8 million in prize money. In October, 2018, she made history by becoming the first horse trained in England to win the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe for a second time and, a month later, did so again by becoming the first horse to win the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and the Breeders’ Cup Turf in the same season.
Her victory in the Breeders’ Cup Turf was her eighth consecutive win at Group One, or Grade One, level, so it may come as a surprise to learn that she suffered the one defeat of her career, so far – albeit on just her second start – in a minor conditions stakes race at Newbury in April, 2017. Ridden, on that occasion, by William Buick, Enable stayed on well in the closing stages of the mile-and-a-quarter contest, but could only finish third, beaten 2½ lengths and a head. So, the number of horses that have finished in front of Enable in her racing career, so far, is just two, namely the winner that day, Shutter Speed, and the second horse home, Raheen House.
Named after the Godolphin Arabian – one of the founders of modern thoroughbred bloodstock – Godolphin is the thoroughbred horse racing and breeding operation founded by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum who, since 2006, has been the Ruler of Dubai. In Britain, Godolphin relies on trainers Saeed bin Suroor and Charlie Appleby, both of whom divide their years between Dubai and Newmarket, while the famous royal blue silks are most often worn by retained jockeys James Doyle and William Buick. At the last count, the Godolphin operation had produced 5,415 winners, including 297 Group One, or Grade One, winners, worldwide since 1992, at a strike rate of 20%.