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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: If he does stay then he’s entitled to go well because we’re not at the bottom of him yet”

We’ve had a quiet time of it over the last couple of weeks, but there are a number of reasons for that. Firstly I just felt that a few of our horses weren’t at their best and there’s no point running them when they’re not at their best.

Secondly as all trainers do we give them all their flu vaccinations at this time of year so it goes quiet anyway. And thirdly and most importantly the ground is just so bad at the moment.

Put simply if you run a horse in this testing ground you’ve got to win because whatever happens it’s going to take them six weeks to get over it. In the main it’s more sensible just to be patient and wait for some better ground to avoid horses leaving their season behind in the January mud.

HORSE RACING

We are still ticking away, and Churchtown Champ won during the week and I would have run Master Jake at Sedgefield today but it was abandoned, and he runs at Wetherby today instead. But we will probably stay a bit quiet and have fewer runners over the next week or two, but then when the ground improves you’ll see the runners increase.

That’s very much how we planned our approach to this part of the season so this quieter period in terms of runners in January is not at all unexpected. It was always the plan.

2.40 Wetherby – Master Jake

I would have run him at Sedgefield on Friday but that meeting was abandoned. He would have been a short price favourite in a novice hurdle there, but instead comes here for his first run in a handicap.

Bridget takes 5lbs off, and in this ground, another 5lbs less on his back will help. That said I don’t think he’s badly handicapped. Yes, it’s a competitive little race but he goes on the ground, the trip is no problem, so I expect him to have a fair chance.

1.15 Warwick – Le Bacardy
Horse Racing - Coral Scottish Grand National - Day Two - Ayr Racecourse

Le Bacardy is struggling for form but at least Warwick is just up the road and I’m just hoping that he’s going to start falling on some races really. He’s been getting dropped 2lbs, then 3lbs, and things like that but he’s still a long way off. He just hasn’t got the recent form, it’s as simple as that.

3.00 Warwick – Born Survivor

We’ve always had this race in mind for Born Survivor, and we are very happy with him. It’s a decent race. Willie Mullins has two coming over from Ireland for it, and there are a couple of strong runners from England too. It really does look a strong novice hurdle but our horse has won on soft ground and over the trip.

Yes, the ground is heavy, so I don’t know how he will cope on heavy but he went through soft ground very well. The form of his last race has been franked. He had a big reputation as a pointer, cost lots of money as everyone knows, so this race is an obvious route to take and I’m very happy to be taking him here.

It was pretty soft and tacky twelve months ago when I won the race with Three Musketeers. It won’t be dissimilar this time although perhaps even softer. Born Survivor is by Kings Theatre, he’s a big strong horse, he shouldn’t have a problem handling the ground, it’s just a question whether anything else handles it even better than he does.

3.35 Warwick – What A Good Night

Horse Racing - Bangor-On-Dee Racecourse

What A Good Night has never tried this trip before but we ride him quietly in his races anyway. So if we ride him the way we do I think he has a chance of staying the trip. If he stays the trip he’ll be competitive. He beat Algernon Pazham last time and I see that horse is shorter in the betting.

Those two horses tie in quite closely, so if one has a chance than the other has a chance. Obviously he has to prove he stays. He goes on soft ground, that’s fine, but stamina over this trip is an unknown, a complete unknown, and I’m not pretending I know what’s going to happen.

If he does stay then he’s entitled to go well because we’re not at the bottom of him yet as he won last time. He has 10-11 which is a middle-weight, and that’s better than carrying a high weight. I don’t know which horse I fear as it’s very, very open.

Wetherby being called off on Boxing Day was a pain because the Rowland Meyrick was his race. We’d laid him out for that race, and it was so frustrating to lose it.

But we fancied him over three miles in soft ground on that day at Wetherby, so we’re entitled to fancy him over half a mile further at Warwick. But he hasn’t stayed the trip until he does so we’ll just have to see him do it.

Dan