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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: Dan Skelton looks ahead to his runners at Newbury, Newcastle and Doncaster

Weekend runners at Newbury, Newcastle and Doncaster

Coral ambassador Dan Skelton has a busy weekend ahead, but beforehand has taken some time to outline his upcoming runners at all of Newbury, Newcastle and Doncaster, including highly-rated Born Survivor in the former.

2.05 Newbury – Born Survivor

I’m very happy with him. He put up a great performance on his seasonal reappearance and it was just really frustrating that they had to take out several hurdles at the last minute because of the low sun as it made a big difference. I’m not saying he definitely would have won, but it definitely made a big difference as he was going very nicely when there were obstacles to be jumped and as soon as there wasn’t he was under pressure.

Born Survivor has plenty of promise for Dan Skelton at Newbury.

Born Survivor has plenty of promise for Dan Skelton at Newbury.

I’ve had a race like this in mind since then and we avoided the heavy ground in the Fixed Brush Hurdle at Haydock last Saturday, so this looked a good option. Newbury is the perfect track for him and the ground is perfect. We do hold him in high regard so hopefully he will go well.

1.45 Newcastle – Get On The Yager

Get On The Yager didn’t surprise us last time but it was a really hot novice contest that he won and the form has worked out well. I’m very happy with how he’s going at home, the trip is ideal, he’s more or less top rated in the race and I think he’s got to go well. It’s a long way to go with one horse, but it’s the right opportunity for the horse and it’s a £20,000 race so you’ve got to give it a go.

12.15 Doncaster – Focaccia

Focaccia has run well in a bumper at this track but has not run well over hurdles since then. I just don’t know why he’s not running great but we’ve just got to get him out and run him. It’s a small field so hopefully that will help, if for any reason there’s any claustrophobia issues with him. He’s got to get on with it.

2.30 Doncaster – Applesandpierres

He’s improved a bit for his first start but I’m surprised the handicapper hasn’t dropped him a bit. He won a summer novice hurdle and is rated 125 so he has no chance anyway off that mark. To go and run moderately last time and not get dropped was mystifying really, and I don’t think he’s running off a mark that he can win off.

Dan Skelton will also hold plenty of hope in Applesandpierres at Doncaster.

Dan Skelton will also hold plenty of hope in Applesandpierres at Doncaster.

I think he’s well up against it but we’ve got to run him and help him find his level, and we need the handicapper to relent a bit. We can try novice chasing at some stage, and there’s other things we can try, but I need some help from the handicapper and you don’t get that unless you get out and show yourself on the track.

3.05 Doncaster – Cobra De Mai

I think he’ll run nicely, the track is fine for him and this trip will prove ideal. Bridget gets on very well with him and that 3lbs extra weight off his back will do no harm either. I think he’ll go alright.

I have a Sunday off and not a lot happening on Monday either, but it’s a busy weekend next week with Sandown and Aintree, and big meetings come thick and fast after that with Cheltenham, Ascot and then the Christmas period after which they will all have their flu vaccs.

It all comes round really quickly. Obviously we don’t want any extreme weather in the next few weeks but that cold snap we’ve just had really helped everybody, and we got the rain that we wanted so we don’t want any torrents from now on, just nice and steady rainfall when we need it. I’m happy with everything at the moment.

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