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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 previews his 11 weekend runners

Dan talks us through his runners at Wetherby, Musselburgh and Taunton and pays tribute to Many Clouds…

Losing Many Clouds last weekend after he had won the Cotswold Chase was an awful blow to racing and to Oliver Sherwood’s team. When you run a horse like that it is always going to be a public event because he is a Grand National and Hennessy Gold Cup winner. People turn up to see him. Oliver said in his own words that it is probably the best horse he will ever have. He had to explain his feelings and what it means to him after the race and that must have been difficult. You can’t get it all right but he did a great job.

Many_Clouds_alt

Many Clouds will forever be remembered by those in racing

He was an incredible horse. He would have been remembered forever anyway given what has achieved and how tough he was but given the circumstance that took his life, he will go down as a legend. He beat an exceptional horse in Thistlecrack who many people said would not be beat so you really have to hand it to him.

Saturday

1.05 Wetherby – Golden Vision

Golden Vision is a lovely mare, we really like her. The obvious main danger is Tearsofclewbay for Philip Hobbs. Our horse jumps and stays well. Wetherby will be a nice track for her. I feel as though our horses are just starting to come back to form so I am really hopeful we will start to see some positive results over the next few weeks. Toby Lerone won at Hereford earlier in the week and we have had a few seconds recently so I really hope this mare can be successful and then we can move on to Listed races as that is where we want to be with all of our mares.

1.40 Wetherby – Oldgrangewood

Oldgrangewood won a nice race at Wetherby last time out but this is much deeper. He has shown his liking for the track which is obviously a positive and he has been in good form at home so he has to be respected.

2.15 Wetherby – Global Ruler

Global Ruler is probably a horse for the future as he is from a nice family and is still growing.  His jumping is very good but I just feel he is going to need a little time. He had his first run at Warwick at the back end of last year and hopefully he shows us improvement on that debut outing.

2.45 Wetherby – Captain Chaos

Captain Chaos ran third last time out in a Listed race at Warwick behind two good horses in American and Champers On Ice. We chased the winner which probably cost us second but we are there to win these races. This is Grade Two so it is another good race. I want to see him go and run as well as he has done in his opening two starts over fences. Obviously I’d love to see him win the race, however he may well be a horse who is better suited to handicaps so we may end up going down that road.

3.20 Wetherby – Sam Red

Sam Red and Adrian Heskin jumping on his way to winning "The Racing 15th March Hurdle" at Navan - Alain Barr - 01.03.2015

Sam Red needs a step up in trip according to Dan

I fancied this horse for the Lanzarote Hurdle at Kempton but in hindsight, it looks like he needed further in trip. He is a very genuine horse who jumps nicely. I think the step up in distance will suit him nicely so he has to have a fair chance.

3.55 Wetherby – Open Hearted

This horse returned after a year off at Warwick last week so you can forgive him for weakening inside the final stages of the race. He travelled well until four out before tiring. I am expecting improvement but I am not expecting all of a sudden for him to turn up and win. He’s an older man now. He’s been dropped in the handicap which is great but it is difficult to predict when he is going to go in because he is finding his feet again. There is pressure on him but if we get him to start hitting form in the spring when he gets a bit of sun on his back then that will be great.

3.45 Musselburgh – Optimus Prime

This race has always been on our minds since he ran at Huntingdown. I think the track will suit him and the ground will be ideal. I wish he did not have top weight but that is the make-up of the race. Bridget helps out a little bit as we can take three pounds off him. We are committed to running him and hopefully he will go well.

Sunday

1.50 Taunton – Mohaayed

He’s top rated in the race as he comes into this on the back of two good runs. He finished second to Elgin at Kempton and then was fourth in the Grade Two hurdle which was won by Neon Wolf. He didn’t quite the jump the third hurdle from home very well on his last start and it got away from him from there. This is a significant step down in class though so hopefully he can go in.

2.20 Taunton – Bubba N Squeak

The ground is a little bit better down at Taunton so that should suit Bubba N Squeak. This trip is no problem. I just hope the transfer to handicap company will help him out a bit and give him a chance of going close.

2.50 Taunton – Bertimont

I was really happy with this horse’s first run but then he fell at Sandown in a Listed race.  I just felt he was staying on a little bit at the end on his last run at Kempton so that gives us a glimmer of hope. He has dropped down into a grade where he has never been in before but that is because he has had some time off. I thought visually he was going the right way at Kempton. I am happy with him going into it so fingers crossed we can get a good run.

3.50 Taunton – Willow’s Saviour

WILLOW'S SAVIOUR Ridden by Harry Skelton wins at Musselburgh 8/11/13 Photograph by John Grossick

Willow’s Saviour is showing promise at home

Willow’s Saviour has been a fantastic horse for us over the years. He is another one who is coming back from an injury. He ran a bit better last time at Newbury where he was passing horses late on. I just feel like we are getting there with him. If he wasn’t showing promise at home, I would not be running him. He stills looks to be enjoying what he is doing. Hopefully it won’t be too long before he is back in the winner’s enclosure. On old form, this race is very much in his grasp but on recent form he has a lot of improving to do. We are not putting any pressure on him as we just want to see where he is at the moment.

Dan

Related

Have a look at Dan’s other blogs in the archive.