Grosvenor Ambassador, Harry Skelton to Appeal Cheltenham Decision
by Glenn Baird - January 7, 2020
Despite finishing first at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day, Protektorat, the Dan Skelton-trained gelding, ridden by jockey Harry Skelton was demoted, with the race judges claiming that interference had taken place at a ‘critical point in the race’.
To say that there is a buzz surrounding Protektorat would be a fair conclusion to draw. The young horse, who is yet to win a race, has finished second on four separate occasions and looks to have a bright future in racing. Add to this the attentions of high prolife owner, Sir Alex Ferguson and the connections with the Skelton family and Grosvenor and you have a horse that has been getting noticed now for some time.
After the race Harry Skelton spoke exclusively to Grosvenor.com: “On the day I was very surprised to lose the race, as were quite a lot of other people who I spoke to.
“We jumped the last a neck up and he then stayed on really well up the hill which was good on his first start over this trip.
“He is owned by the Hales family, my sponsor Ged Mason and Sir Alex Ferguson who are all great supporters of ours. They want to appeal the result, which I think is totally understandable, so we’re going down to the BHA next week.”
He added: “Ultimately this horse is a three-mile staying chaser in the making, but we’ll have a look at the other Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle Trial on Trials Day at the end of the month.
“The Ballymore itself now looks a realistic target in March (Cheltenham Festival).”
As things currently stand Imperial Alcazar has been awarded the race victory. However, the appeal, which has been launched this week will go on to determine whether or not there was significant interference from Protektorat, which could mean that the result of the first major meet of 2020 still hangs in the balance, a week after the initial decision.