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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: Dan Skelton looks at Newbury Friday runners including Virgilio and Three Musketeers

“It was a very good ride by Harry and we basically nicked it.”

I was delighted with Ch‘Tibello’s win last Saturday, and I was a little surprised as I didn’t think he’d go on the ground at all. When they went no pace and our horse was able to sit upsides the front I really thought it was a possibility that we could win.

Scottish Champion Hurdle winner Ch'Tibello is a leading contender for Dan Skelton.

Scottish Champion Hurdle winner Ch’Tibello is a leading contender for Dan Skelton.

It was a very good ride by Harry and we basically nicked it; you can’t say fairer than that. The handicapper only put him up a pound which is very fair, but sensible given the circumstances in terms of small field and heavy ground. I will probably enter him in the Ryanair Hurdle and Christmas Hurdle, and see what happens. I’m not going to make firm plans yet, and he will also get an entry in the Ladbroke Hurdle at Ascot.

Weekend runners at Newbury

12.30 Newbury – Captain Forez

Captain Forez is a lovely horse. Second on his only start at Auteuil, he is very much a future chaser. I love this track for him, he’s always been aiming for this race and I think he’ll run nicely. Jenkins is a horse with a big reputation so it’s going to be decent contest.

1.05 Newbury – Knockgraffon

Dan fancies Knockgraffon to run well at Newbury.

Dan fancies Knockgraffon to run well at Newbury.

Knockgraffon had a lovely run last time at Carlisle over fences. He showed plenty of pace but probably didn’t quite stay up the hill. I’ve always had this race in mind since then, and I think he’ll go well.

1.35 Newbury – Virgilio

This is a really good race and we decided to come here with Virgilio rather than go to Bangor where the ground is very testing. He has a bad run to put behind him. The two occasions he has ever run badly for us he has pulled up, so if he’s on his game he’ll run well. At Wincanton the ground was rock hard and he never got going, it was just one of those things; I don’t understand what happened really. I’m quite happy with him at home so we’ll see how we go, but we have to put that bad run behind us, it’s as simple as that.

2.45 Newbury – Three Musketeers

Three Musketeers is another runner for Coral ambassador Dan Skelton this weekend.

Three Musketeers is another runner for Coral ambassador Dan Skelton this weekend.

Three Musketeers ran really well around Aintree but wanted softer ground, which he will get here at Newbury. He has top weight which is not ideal but he’s won around this track in a Grade 2 last year so hopefully he can go and run well.

3.50 Newbury – Classico Dias

Classico Dais is a chaser for the future. He’s a really nice big horse and he just needs to start his career. When these types of horse make their debuts you can’t really expect them just to go out and win a novice hurdle first time up in decent company. He’ll improve massively physically and mentally, and he’s definitely a chaser in the making. A lovely horse.

Related

Visit the StableTalk archive for more from Dan.