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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 discusses his 13 runners this weekend

Dan Skelton rounds up his weekend runners from Haydock, Fontwell, Taunton and Hereford

It was great to see Three Musketeers win during the week. That was much more like it from him and he’s now back on track. The softer ground suited him, and we put the cheekpieces on to help him out a bit. He was the highest rated horse in the race, but at the same time he didn’t have the best recent form, so it was a good display and a gutsy one too. I don’t know quite what we will do now but we’ll look for another race in the next few weeks and take it from there.

SATURDAY

12.55 Haydock – Free Stone Hill

He’s been due to run a couple of times and on both occasions the meetings have been called off. It’s always difficult at this time of year with the weather. We are very happy with him and he goes there with a chance.

1.30 Haydock – Its’afreebee

Coral horse racing ambassador Dan Skelton's horse Its'afreebee races in the 12:40 at Wetherby on Saturday.

Its’afreebee could give Politologue something to think about at Haydock

He’s a real tough horse and he jumps very well. Taking on Politologue is going to make it hard. He’s the one to beat but we have a really good horse, he’s won at the track, and he’s in really good form.

2.05 Haydock – Mohaayed

He ran really well on his debut. He’d shown us a lot at home and had jumped really nicely. He outran himself on his first start and we just need to see him back that run up now. It’s a deep race but he’s a quality animal.

4.20 Haydock – Aintree My Dream

Aintree My Dream is fairly handicapped on his novice form. He was fourth in a good novice at Sandown in early December. The track will be ideal, the trip is perfect and the soft ground will suit him. It’s his first dip into handicap company of course but he’s definitely got a chance.

It’s easier running a novice in handicap company over hurdles than it is over fences in the majority of cases. When it comes to chasing you don’t want to dip them in to handicap company too soon because they can get found out. However novices often do well in handicap hurdles as they are more likely to be unexposed compared to their opposition.

2.20 Taunton – Willow’s Saviour

Willows_Saviour

Willow’s Saviour could step up now back at the right trip

This is a Veteran’s hurdle which suits this horse. It’s been well supported which I feel supports my view that there could be Veteran’s races run over hurdles as well as fences and over differing trips. Willow’s Saviour is coming down to a mark where he can definitely be dangerous off. It’s the right trip for him but he needs a step up in form. The more the handicap helps him the more chance he can find that winning opportunity.

4.00 Taunton – Calling Des Blins

I think the track will suit her. She likes a bit of decent ground. I’m very happy with her coming in to this and have been waiting a while to run her. We need to get started with her to know where she is.

4.30 Taunton – Robin Of Locksley

Robin Of Locksley would prefer to go left handed but there is a shortage of races and we need to start him over fences. If he put his best foot forward off his current mark he’d be very dangerous but he hasn’t fulfilled his early promise just yet. Having said that running over fences could make a big difference to him. He’s been jumping well at home.

SUNDAY

1.00 Fontwell – Al Reesha

AL REESHA DAN SKELTON STABLE TOUR 2016 GROSSICK PHOTOGRAPHY The Steadings Rockhallhead Collin DG1 4JW 07710461723 www.grossick.co.uk JOHN GROSSICK

Dan thinks that Al Reesha will be well in with a chance at the end at Fontwell

I think this is us versus one of Philip Hobbs, Tearsofclewbay. It’s a tidy little race between two nice horses. I really like ours, and think that the softer ground that she gets this time will be in her favour. I think she’ll go really close.

1.30 Fontwell – Mister Grez and Bertenbar

Bertenbar is a regular around Fontwell, and this time carries a bit less weight than normal over a bit further than normal. It’s hard to find races for him as he either has to run here or go right handed.

Mister Grez is back in the type of grade he’s won at before, and over fences. I think he’ll go well. Both or ours should run creditably.

Bertenbar  is thirteen years old but you wouldn’t know it. There’s no secret to keeping these older horses going, some do and some don’t and Bertenbar is one of those that doesn’t show their age at all.

2.00 Fontwell  – Theatrebar

He won his first start for us after a long layoff up at Sedgfield. We were ‘umming and ahing’ over where to go with him but we settled on this race. I think he’s got a great chance as long as he doesn’t suffer from a second run syndrome, that bounce factor following a run after a long layoff. But we’ve given him plenty of time so he shouldn’t suffer from that ‘bounce factor’. I do really like this horse and I think he could be progressive.

2.30 Fontwell – Hinton Indiana

The Dan Skelton trained, Coral Champions Club owned horse Churchtown Champ goes in the Kauto Star Novices' Chase at Kempton.

Dan and Harry Skelton will be teaming up with Hinton Indiana in the 2.30 on Sunday

It’s a small field and he’ll get the trip really well. I don’t know if the ground is ideal, although he ran okay in it a couple of times in hunter chases I think he’s probably a better ground horse. This is not a great race, it’s a 0-100 and it’s very winnable.

4.00 Fontwell – Whatzdjazz

She’s a nice horse, a half-brother to Welsh Shadow, and is really tough. She’s a typical bumper horse for us as has done lots of work and should be ready for this debut, but at the same time improve for it.

3.50 Hereford – Master Jake

He ran really well the other day. He was second at Market Rasen and just bumped into one that was seriously well handicapped. I think the trip is ideal, the track will be fine, and he’ll run another solid race. I’m not saying he’ll win but he’ll run well. The jockey is Bridget and Gina’s brother, and he’s on track to be one of the best young amateurs in the country. He rides out with us a bit and he needs chances. He’s ridden winners ‘under rules’  and hopefully he’ll ride a few for us as well.

Fancy any of Dan’s runners? Then get yourself over to Coral and get your bets on for the weekend!

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Check out Dan’s other blogs in our Stabletalk archive