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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: I like this horse, otherwise i wouldn’t be running him in this race

Seeing Al Ferof win the way he did last Sunday was amazing. He jumped great, travelled well, and now it’s onwards and upwards to the King George. There are no negatives at all with him but the King George is going to be a really tough race. Al Ferof has been a great horse for the Hales’ family and the King George is the next start before we target more big races with him next year.

I was very happy with Bon Chic, who came second for the Coral Champions Club, but she just bumped into a good one in Kalane. Kalane was a better hurdler than Bon Chic so we knew that to beat her we had to either jump better than her, or she had to jump badly. To be fair Bon Chic jumped immaculately bar one fence where she was bit slow, but still clever at it. Kalane however jumped brilliantly, simply amazing. Our fate was almost obvious after just three fences the way Kalane jumped them. Come the spring when we run Bon Chic in those mares’ handicap chases Kalane will have to give us plenty of weight, so we’ll get our chance for revenge then.

Bon Chic Southwell 2

Bon Chic coped with the soft ground, and I think as she’s getting older she’s getting stronger which helps on that ground. But she will be better in the spring, all mares are. She’ll go to Leicester on the 28th December for a beginners’ chase and then you probably won’t see her again until March. The ground at Leicester is never too bad so it should suit her.

Virgilio is a very good horse. He pulled like a hooligan last Saturday and still won. He will go the Relkeel on New Years Day at Cheltenham. We’ve run out of options for him, we’ve got to go there. That will tell us where we lie compared to the good hurdlers. If he gets beat there we might just send him over fences and get some experience, and see where the land lies come the spring. He’s actually had one run over fences in France.
I’m so pleased with the way things are going. It’s magic. Harry is riding brilliantly. The horses look great and are running well. We’ve just got to keep that form up, that’s the most important thing.

Saturday

1.15 Cheltenham – Workbench

He ran well on his last run at Cheltenham finishing second but the handicapper has had his say and he didn’t run quite so well at Ascot the other day. Perhaps the return to Cheltenham on a little bit better ground will be more to his liking. However I do think the handicapper has him exactly where he thinks he should be.

12.20 Doncaster – Le Bacardy

Le Bacardy was brought down last time and we don’t know how he would have fared because it was so early on in the race. He needed to put a bad run at Cheltenham behind him that day so the same still applies today. He’s got to re-find his form. Even if he’d had a clear round last time I think we’d have found that the handicapper had him in his grip. So whilst he’s consistent when he’s on form I think he may be too high in the weights.

2.05 Doncaster – Fouburg

I think Fouburg is a very nice horse and I have no qualms about dipping him into graded company on only his second start. If Who Dares Wins is the horse to beat then we have a 4lb turnaround for getting beaten ¾ of a length last time so on paper we have to have a great chance. I like everything about the horse, and that goes without saying as otherwise I wouldn’t be running him in a race like this.

3.15 Doncaster – Boss Des Mottes

This is a very competitive race but we have come up here with Boss Des Mottes in search of the better ground. He has very little weight to carry and there are plenty of positives in terms of the conditions and the track but this is a very competitive handicap hurdle.

Sunday

1.20 Southwell – Robin Of Locksley

He’s clear on the ratings and is a horse that’s done well for us so far with a fourth at Cheltenham and then second to a good horse at Ludlow. In this maiden hurdle he really should be bang there to be quite honest and we’ll be disappointed if he doesn’t run a big race. There are a couple in there that look OK on paper including Penn Lane of Warren’s that won a bumper so I have respect for the opposition but I expect them to be looking at our horse as the one to beat.

All the best

Dan