SSS Super Alloys Manifesto Novices' Chase
Grade 1, Aintree 13:45
£75,000 added,
5yo plus,
2m 3f 200y, Class 1   
Thursday 8th April 2021

1 Protektorat 17/2
2 The Shunter 7/2
3 Hitman 100/30
7 ran Distances: 3¾l, nk, 10l
Time: 5m 5.60s (slow by 17.60s)

Dan Skelton admitted even he was “shocked” by Protektorat’s impressive performance, which gave part-owner Sir Alex Ferguson victory in the opening race of the Randox Grand National Festival.

The trainer said he is now looking forward to “a big, big future” for the six year old, who has won three times and finished second twice in his five runs this season.

He told Racing TV: “I have to say that it was a bit of a shock for him to win. On autumn form, yes, he could win, but it’s a long way back to here from what happened at Kelso, where he got beaten at a short price. He was beaten after two jumps that day, but we redid his soft palate, put a tongue strap on and took the hood off, and we changed the tactics as well.

“Everything had to change. If you keep doing the same thing you’ll only get the same result. Perhaps he’s getting a little more experienced and he’s relaxing a little better. It was a surprise though. I thought he’d run well and maybe finish third or fourth.

“I honestly didn’t think what just happened there would happen. Ultimately he’s done it at a very high level and the form is very strong from that race.”

Trainers Quotes

Part-owner Ferguson was at Aintree to see his horse win and the jockey added: “It’s brilliant to have owners back. I can’t thank all the owners enough, and I’m sure I speak on behalf of Dan as well - they’ve been so patient through this difficult period, they’ve stuck by us and it’s great to have them back today.

“Well done to Aintree Racecourse, and I’m sure everyone is trying their best; hopefully they are here to stay now.

“This win means I am level with Brian Hughes in the jockeys’ championship, and it’s going to be a fight to the end. I’m really enjoying it. It’s what it’s about and where I have always wanted to be. The horses are flying and it’s a credit to our team. I’ve got four rides today, four tomorrow and six on Saturday, and hopefully they will run well.”

Ferguson also part-owns Hitman, who finished third. Trainer Paul Nicholls said: “I thought he was going to win going to the last, but he’s still weak and probably wants another year.”

Jockey Harry Cobden added: “He ran well. He jumped okay and did everything right, but he probably just wasn’t good enough on the day.”

The Shunter, trained by Emmet Mullins and running in his new colours of JP McManus, finished second.


Manifesto Novices' Chase
£75,000 added, 5yo plus, 2m 3f 200y, Class 1
7 ran
Going: Good to Soft

1      Protektorat 6 11-4 Dan Skelton Harry Skelton 17/2
The Shunter 8 11-4 Emmet Mullins Brian Hayes 7/2
nk Hitman 5 11-4 Paul Nicholls Harry Cobden 100/30
10 Phoenix Way 8 11-4 Harry Fry Aidan Coleman 28/1
5 Eldorado Allen 7 11-4 Colin Tizzard Jonjo O'Neill Jr 7/1
22 Umbrigado 7 11-4 David Pipe David Noonan 11/1
PU  Fusil Raffles 6 11-4 Nicky Henderson Daryl Jacob 9/4F