Saviour lands the Ladbroke at Ascot

Win gives trainer Dan Skelton a major success in first season

Dan Skelton secured a major success in his first season as a trainer when Willow's Saviour landed The Ladbroke at Ascot.

Ridden by Skelton’s brother, Harry, the six-year-old rattled off a hat-trick at the bottom of the handicap at odds of 10-1.

Willow’s Saviour jumped the last in front, but needed to show plenty of guts to keep Ptit Zig at bay in a pulse-chasing finish.

The runner-up is trained by Paul Nicholls, Dan Skelton's former boss. Irish raider Flaxen Flare was third, while Chris Pea Green finished fourth.


Harry Skelton said: "It's absolute magic. Who cares what happens after today - We've won a Ladbroke with him."

Dan Skelton said: “I just can’t believe it. The whole day has been magic. “You’ve got to have a plan in this job, and we had one.

“I didn’t come with any nerves. By nature I’m a bit of a brave guy, and so is the jockey.”

Earlier, Reve De Sivola made all of the running to claim back-to-back renewals of the Wessex Youth Trust Long Walk Hurdle.

Trained by Nick Williams and ridden by Richard Johnson, the eight-year-old's stamina came to the fore in the exacting conditions at the circuit as he gamely held off Salubrious by 10 lengths.

At Fishers Cross, the 8-11 favourite, ditched jockey Tony McCoy at the final flight.

Johnson said: “He’s a very honest horse — he’s a very good horse. He’s a very, very good hurdler and we know soft ground suits him very well.”

At Fishers Cross had jumped sketchily early on, but improved along the second circuit as he strived to atone for an awful mistake at Newbury on his seasonal bow.

But Rebecca Curtis’ inmate made another howler here as he catapulted McCoy out of the saddle when in second place.

Connections of Salubrious might also feel a little hard done by as the six-year-old made a costly gaffe two out when seemingly still full of running.

Reve De Sivola (9-4) was hardly flawless in the jumping department, but he adores a scrap in the mud and, crucially, kept his cool while his pursuers faltered.

Rain in Ascot led to stamina-sapping conditions, but Josies Orders showed an aptitude in the mud to win the Foundation Developments Novices’ Handicap Hurdle.

Jonjo O’Neill’s gelding has taken a while to get it altogether, but had broken his duck at Aintree in October before running a good third at Wetherby a fortnight ago.

Always going nicely under Tony McCoy, who kept the 6-1 chance wide throughout, Josies Orders stayed on best to finish two and a half lengths ahead of Sybarite.

“He works well at home, but we stuck the blinkers on as he hasn’t always been doing it on the track,” said O’Neill.

“AP (McCoy) said it’s heavy out there and it’s great he has shown the ability he has at home.”

Even-money favourite Easter Day gave Paul Nicholls his fourth David Johnson Memorial Shawbrook Graduation Chase in a row.

The two-mile-five-furlong heat is for horses that have not won more than a couple of chases but it boiled down to a match between two novices, Daryl Jacob’s mount Easter Day and the McCoy-ridden O’Faolains Boy.

They duelled down the straight and were split by two and a quarter lengths at the line.

“I’ve normally won it with second-season chasers rather than novices,” said Nicholls.

“It’s nice to win David’s race. He was a great owner and a great man who is missed by everyone.

“I’m not sure this horse would be quick enough for Cheltenham, but we’ll find some staying handicaps.

“I thought he ran a little flat today.”