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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: “He’s always been targeting this race since he ran at Ascot”

Dan Skelton discusses his weekend runners and gives an update on some of his Cheltenham hopefuls…

The injury to Superb Story was obviously disappointing. As you get closer to Cheltenham everyone is keeping their fingers crossed that nothing happens to their horses but unfortunately it doesn’t matter what time of year it is, setbacks will happen. It’s a 15% hole in his flexor tendon which given time will be fine. 15% is about as small as you can get for a detectable injury. On the one hand we are unlucky and on the other hand we spotted it straight away and we didn’t let it deteriorate. We are going to try and bring him back in December and see how he is. That’s the plan and if he’s ok, then great. If we find he needs a little longer then we’ll give him a little longer. In theory if you started in December there is every chance that you’d make Cheltenham, so we’ll review him in December

Horse Racing - Halloween Raceday - Ascot Racecourse

Ch’Tibello (left) is 50/50 to run at the Cheltenham Festival in March

Ch’tibello is 50/50 to run at Cheltenham. He ran a great race the other day. I felt that at the last he looked like he was probably going to win. Whilst I’m not saying he definitely would have beaten Yanworth – Yanworth had beaten us before and was expected to win the race – I just thought Ch’tibello wasn’t quite as strong from the last hurdle as I might have hoped. I asked Ben Brain to have a look at him and he felt there could be some improvement from doing his palate, so we’ve done it and he’s already back cantering. We’ll monitor him between now and Cheltenham to see if he can make it.

Saturday

1.50- Kempton – Bedrock

Bedrock is massively in at the deep end. He’ll get some experience from this race and then whatever happens he’ll still be a novice until November. He will run nicely but I can’t expect him to win a race like this on his first start. I hope he has a nice clear round and we learn something about him. If we finished placed that would be great; if we were to win then wow!

3.00 Kempton – Mister Universum and Captain Forez

Mister Universum should like the track and we’ve given him a little time since his debut at Newbury. Just like with Bedrock, if he doesn’t win then he stays a novice until November, and the same goes for Captain Forez. These horses are going in at the deep end but if they don’t win it’s not the end of the world at all. A bit of thought has gone into this. We’re not just throwing the darts at these races willy-nilly.

Captain Forez has always been targeting this race since he ran at Ascot, whereas with Mister Universum we were just umming and ahhing; that’s just the way it’s worked out. Captain Forez has nice form with Capitaine. They meet each other on exactly the same terms on a track that is probably slightly more in favour of Capitaine. If this race was a round Newbury I would be quite bullish. Having said that our horse is an improving horse that we like an awful lot. I do think he will run very well.

3.35 Kempton – 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.

This horse has really got the hang of things in the last month. It’s his first try at three miles and I’m really looking forward to him running. Three miles on nice ground on a right handed track is exactly what he wants and there won’t be any excuses tomorrow. It’s a very competitive race, and there are a number of horses that haven’t held form for a while so could be well handicapped. There are also a few that are in good form that may still be progressing and it makes for an interesting race.  Three Musketeers has won two Grade 2s for the yard and he deserves to win a big handicap. That would be great.

4.45 Kempton – Frankie Rapper and Diese Des Bieffes

Diese Des Bieffes is a very nice horse. Everyone has it to do against Champ in this race but we like our horse and it will tell us a bit about what we should do next. The same goes for Frankie Rapper, who is more of a long term prospect. You’ll see in the paddock he’s a big horse by Milan so the experience will do him good.

SUNDAY

3.00 Fontwell – Shelford

Shelford is the first of man Dan Skelton's Ascot and Haydock runners he talks about in this week's blog.

Shelford has it all to do at Fontwell on Sunday

Shelford had a great time winning bundles of money in France last year, but he has a penalty because of that which doesn’t make life easy. I think over two and a half miles around this track with a pair of blinkers on he can run really well. We have numbers to find with a few but I think he can go nicely.

3.10 Southwell – Shantou Rock

Shantou Rock has to go well. He bolted in last time in a novice hurdle and he has got to close in this.

4.10 Southwell – Sam Red

Sam Red just got touched off last time by a really good horse. He has top weight and he stays nicely so he’s not without a chance.

4.40 Southwell – Classico Dais

Classico Dais is coming back a few furlongs in trip. If you watched his race last time he was running really well at this type of trip so hopefully this drop in trip will be ideal. He has an each way chance of sorts.

5.10 Southwell – One For Billy

One For Billy just ran a bit below expectations at Aintree in the Autumn but he’s a real nice chaser in the making. That said that he should still run tidily.

Dan

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Check out Dan’s other exclusive blogs in his archive here