4 Mar, 2024 @ 14:18
2 mins read

Spanish-Bred Racehorse Nube Negra Still Going Strong in 2024


Although Spain has a rich background in dressage and other equine disciplines, as well as breeding the much-loved Andalucian horse, jumps racing is not a pursuit that the Spanish are well known for.

That explains why one small breeding outfit decided to send their prized asset to England to compete, allowing him to make the most of his jumping talent – rather than wasting it on the flat races held in Spain.

So Nube Negra was posted to top trainer Dan Skelton in 2017, and even now – at the age of ten – the horse is still going strong over fences on British soil.

On the Chase

Sadly, the Spanish horse won’t be at the Cheltenham Festival in 2024 – the site of one of his finest days in racing when finishing second in the Champion Chase.

Skelton, on the other hand, features prominently in the Cheltenham Festival 2024 betting, with his charges Langer Dan (+800) and L’Eau de Sud (+1400) primed for success in their respective handicap hurdles.

The Cheltenham 2024 tips columns are also looking favorably on Grey Dawning, an outstanding horse that has a handful of Festival declarations, with the Turners Novices’ Chase perhaps his most likely destination.

Any of Skelton’s charges could bring back fond memories of Nube Negra’s incredible run in the 2021 Champion Chase, one of the most prestigious races at the meeting. The Spanish horse started slowly on the Prestbury Park track, but gained prominence throughout the action and as they entered the home straight, was well in with a chance of handing Skelton his finest moment in racing.

In the end, Put the Kettle On – running off a handicap 7lb lighter than Nube Negra – had just about enough left in the tank to complete victory by just half a length.

It was a stirring performance from Nube Negra, who has shown a real fondness for the undulating track at Prestbury Park over the years…

Drink to That

Dan’s father, Nick, was a two-time Olympic gold medallist in show jumping, so he had plenty of equine contacts around the world.

It was one of those that introduced him to the Cuadra Internorte breeding program, from which Nube Negra has been the flagship star.

Nick convinced Dan to give the horse a go over the jumps on British soil, swapping the sunny climes of the Zarzuela track in Madrid for the rather chillier fare at Market Rasen and Doncaster.

But Nube Negra took to the softer ground with aplomb, winning on his debut over hurdles back in November 2017.

He was stepped up in grade, winning at Doncaster, before finding himself competing at the 2018 Cheltenham Festival – finishing third, and just four lengths behind, Veneer of Charm in the Fred Winter Juvenile Hurdle.

More solid form over the smaller obstacles convinced Skelton to give Nube Negra a go over fences, and the Spanish-bred horse took to chasing with relish.

A winner of the Desert Orchid Chase in 2020 – beating the high-quality Altior in the process, Nube Negra would go on to win back-to-back editions of the Cheltenham Chase (known as the Schloer Chase thanks to a sponsorship deal with the drinks brand), in 2021 and ’22.

The ten-year-old is still gamely racing, finishing second in the Desert Orchid Chase in December – confirming his status as the most successful Spanish horse in British racing.

Let’s hope there are many more to follow in Nube Negra’s hoofsteps in the years to come!

Staff Reporter

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