Le Milos leaves Dan Skelton with plenty of positives following weekend reverse
The Alcester-based handler made no secret of the fact he had left a bit to work on ahead of Le Milos' run in the Listed Premier Chase on Saturday, but the 10-11 favourite looked set to oblige when his class took him clear of the field heading to the last.
Having been off the track since scoring at Newbury in November, fitness took its toll in the closing stages and despite hitting the basement price of 1.01 on the exchanges in running, Sandy Thomson's Empire Steel ran on strongly to mug Skelton's Aintree candidate in the shadow of the post. Although disappointed not to leave the Scottish borders with victory, Skelton knows exactly how much of the screw needs to be tightened before he embarks on his Merseyside mission and is confident the eight-year-old will arrive in Liverpool at the peak of his powers. He said: "It was a good prep run, but it was gutting to get beat when we were ahead three strides before the line - that was fairly annoying. "That happens and I made no secret beforehand the horse was going to improve for the run. I did think five strides before the last that perhaps he might get away with it, but it was very obvious on landing that he took a massive blow. "It is a bit frustrating to get beat, but you can see the horse is in great health and he jumped and travelled round there really well, which was just what I wanted to see." He went on: "We've got a bit of work to do now, which we always knew we were going to have, but he is perfectly where I want him in terms of Grand National preparation. "That race will do him 10 per cent of the work and then there's a few more per cent to work on, but I will make sure he's ready. "Corach Rambler is obviously one of the favourites and there are a few others in there, but we're one of the more prominent in the betting from the English team and we will be going there to fly the flag and do our best."
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