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About Dan:

Dan has worked with horses for his whole life and spent nine years as Assistant Trainer to Champion National Hunt Trainer Paul Nicholls. With that invaluable experience under his belt, he has embarked on his own training career and now has almost 200 winners under his belt, including Willow’s Saviour’s memorable victory in the 2013 Ladbroke Hurdle at Ascot. Dan will be providing a unique insight into his horses and their chances exclusively for Coral.

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StableTalk: “The track will suit, the ground is no problem, and he should run well”

Dan Skelton’s exclusive StableTalk is back on Coral news following a summer break, so our horse racing ambassador looks back on last season and forward to his Chepstow runners this weekend!

By October 1st we’d had over 20 winners

I was expecting to hit the ground running in May and had kept a few of the Summer horses back from the previous season. I got a bit of a shock though because they weren’t all that well handicapped, so we had to reassess pretty quickly; we made a few changes, sold a few, and got back on track.

By October 1st we’d had over 20 winners, which was the aim, and we also won the two big races at Market Rasen’s Summer Plate meeting. This had only ever been done once before by Martin Pipe, so all in all it hasn’t been a bad summer. Granted I’d have liked a few more winners, but you’ll never hear me say anything different!

Last season was fantastic, and at the start of the new season you reassess everything and see where you are with your team; where the strengths and weaknesses are, and try and strengthen the areas that need it.

The exclusive StableTalk Dan Skelton blog returns with the jumps season back in earnest.

The exclusive StableTalk Dan Skelton blog returns with the jumps season back in earnest.

In reality you just have to go out and do it all again, it’s as simple as that. The horses are in good health, there are a few that the handicapper has in his grip but that should level itself out over the course of the season.

I’m really looking forward to getting going with the winter horses

I’m really looking forward to getting going with the winter horses. The problem at the moment is that the ground is so hard that you can’t get going as you’d like to.

We can’t run half the horses that we’d want to and then when it does eventually rain all the horses that have been waiting will all be backing up and running against each other. The season usually finds a way of evening itself out though.

I think I’ll approach the way I do the flu-vacs differently this year compared to last year. Last year I spread them out to suit the horses, but I think now it’s best to just do them all at once so you get a downturn for a fortnight, and then you pick up.

We found doing it as we did last year that you extend your susceptibility and vulnerability over a longer period, so I think I can do that a little bit differently this year.

Chepstow runners on Saturday

Cobra De Mai (right) is among Dan Skelton's Chepstow runners this Saturday.

Cobra De Mai (right) is among Dan Skelton’s Chepstow runners this Saturday.

At Chepstow tomorrow in the 3.50 I run Cobra De Mai. He finished last season with a really good run in a valuable juvenile at Newbury. This is another valuable juvenile and he gets bottom weight whilst still being in the handicap proper which is perfect.

I’m really looking forward to running him; he has to take on some superior opposition in terms of form but he’s getting weight. The track will suit, the ground is no problem, and he should run well.

Debdebdeb runs in the 4.25. Whether she wants to be kept to mares-only events remains to be seen. She’s got very little weight in this race but it looks a really high class renewal. Perhaps she has an each-way chance but it really does look tough, probably the best running of the Tote Silver Trophy for years.

Chepstow runners on Sunday

Savello is also racing at Chepstow this weekend.

Savello is also racing at Chepstow this weekend.

On Sunday, I run Savello in the 3.25 at Chepstow. I tinkered with his breathing over the summer and I’m very happy with him. I was going to run him at Kelso last week but the ground was iffy.

He hasn’t won a hurdle for a long time so it would be silly to think that he’s just going to go and win one now, but he’s in great form and he should run his race. There are other horses in the race that are probably better handicapped, but he’ll have this run and then go back chasing.

Two Taffs (left) is in action this Sunday for Skelton's stable.

Two Taffs (left) is in action this Sunday for Skelton’s stable.

Two Taffs runs in the 4.30. I really like this horse. He ended last season with a big win up at Ayr at the Coral Scottish Grand National meeting. That was a very competitive handicap and he looked quite good.

I think he’ll be even better again this season as he’s been improving and strengthening the whole time; he’s very much a chaser in the making. There are a couple of horses that have had recent runs that he’s got to give a couple of pounds to, but I do really like this horse.

Whatever happens he will keep getting better. He’s still a novice until 1st November so we’ll see how we go here and then decide what route to take with him. He has the option of going novice chasing or taking in some more hurdles, but either way he’s definitely a horse to keep an eye on for the long term.

I’m really looking forward to getting Three Musketeers out. I think he’ll head to the Old Roan, and I think he’s going to improve particularly when he runs over three miles later in the year.

We also have Blue Heron back which is great, and then there’s horses like Its’afreebee, Mister Miyagi, Welsh Shadow, Superb Story, Ch’ Tibello, Pain Au Chocolat and others. There’s a long list of nice horses to look forward to, and I’m very happy with the younger horses I have in too. I think they are a tidy bunch!

Related

The StableTalk archive has all of Skelton’s exclusive thoughts from past National Hunt meetings.

If you fancy any of Dan’s Chepstow runners to win this Saturday, then head on over to our sister site and place your bets with Coral!

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