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Unbeaten Skytastic to miss Cheltenham and wait for Aintree

Unbeaten novice hurdler Skytastic will skip the Cheltenham Festival in favour of a final outing of the season at Aintree.

The Sam Thomas-trained six-year-old has run four times so far and has been victorious on every occasion, taking two bumpers and a pair of hurdle contests.

His most recent success was a narrow triumph over Warlord in an Ascot novice in mid-February, after which Thomas indicated the bay may not take up entries in the Ballymore or Albert Bartlett at Cheltenham and could instead be aimed at Aintree.

With the Festival growing ever nearer the Welsh National-winning trainer has confirmed the Grand National meeting will be Skytastic’s next port of call, a fixture which hosts the Mersey Novices’ Hurdle over two and a half miles and the Sefton Novices’ Hurdle over three.

“He’s absolutely fine, he’s in good form, although he’s not doing a lot of work at the minute,” Thomas said.

Skytastic (right) in action at Ascot
Skytastic (right) in action at Ascot (Simon Marper/PA)

“His target is Aintree now, we’re really looking forward to the future with him for next season as much as anything.

“He’s going to be a lovely big chaser and he’s one we’re really looking forward to.”

With a chasing career the ultimate goal for Skytastic, Thomas intends to take a patient approach through his early days and cites the horsemanship of Nicky Henderson as a good example of ensuring longevity by giving horses time to mature.

“He’s had two runs in quick succession now, one more run and that’ll be him,” he said.

“If you look at the way Nicky treats a lot of his youngsters and babies, he brings them on carefully and a result you see them as chasers for years and years to come.

“He’s not a small, nippy little type, he’s a big horse and I don’t want to do anything silly with him when we’ve got the rest of his career to look forward to.”

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