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North Hill Harvey ascent has Dan Skelton aiming at Cheltenham Festival

• Skelton marvels at novice chaser’s progress from point-to-point
• Trainer believes North Hill Harvey will compete in Arkle Trophy

“He started out at Chaddesley Corbett point-to-point,” Dan Skelton said after winning the big novice chase here on Friday with North Hill Harvey. “It was unraceable conditions, over three miles and he was a four-year-old – and now here he is, winning two-mile chases. It shows you that they can start from all different walks.”

They can, but wherever they start, for most there is just one destination that matters. The trees on Cleeve Hill were still decked out in their autumn colours as National Hunt racing returned to its most celebrated venue, but many thoughts were already turning towards the spring, and the Festival meeting here in a little under five months’ time.

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