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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: This ground should be perfect for him. I think he’ll go well

I’m pleased to report that Bridget Andrews is having her scan on Tuesday and as long as that’s OK she’ll be back in action. She’s ready. She’s been missing it badly.

12.30 Aintree – Great Link
He won his only start for us back in the summer but we feel he wants a little bit softer ground. It’s not a bad little race but we’ve prepared him quite well, we’re happy with him. We’ve just got to see how he runs in Winter company. A lot of his rivals have a recent run which is in their favour a little bit but we are ready to go.

great link horse

1.05 Aintree – Beautiful Gem
I think she’s got quite a task on here. The race has cut up. There are only six runners so she’s going to get a nice experience which is what we want for her really. She’s going to be one for the future as she’s a great big mare. It wasn’t a bad run on the face of it last time; she just didn’t get up the hill at Towcester. There are a couple of decent horses against her here.

2.45 Aintree – Virgilio
He’s won his only two starts for us including once around this track. We think he’ll go well. We had him in the Fixed Brush Hurdle at Haydock but decided to miss it for an extra couple of weeks. It’s a competitive little handicap but I’m very happy with my horse. This race will tell us where we go with him. If he gets beat we’ll go off chasing, if he wins it we’ll probably look for a little bit more over hurdles.

1.20 Sandown – Sir Mangan
He’s been running very well recently. He won at Fontwell and was second at Cheltenham. I don’t know how he’ll cope with his new high handicap mark. He got beat last time but still went up in the weights. Are there others in the race that are better handicapped? I don’t know. He’s fit, he tries hard and he should have a squeak. It may be a qualifier for the Pertemps Hurdle but we aren’t worrying about the spring at the moment. I want to spend this season hurdling with Sir Mangan before going back chasing with him next year.

1.55 Sandown – Willow’s Saviour
This is the horse that gave us our first big race win in the Ladbroke Hurdle at Ascot two years ago. He jumped well at Warwick on the whole. He has definitely improved for that run. I have a lot of respect for the opposition. It’s a good race isn’t it? I think he’s better off in this kind of race than giving away weight in a lower grade. We have to give Bristol De Mai weight which will probably be the hardest task but at the end of the day he’s a high class horse and we’re delighted he’s able to compete in this kind of race. All the horses are rated around the same kind of 140+ mark so we’ll need to win or go close in this to keep going on the upward curve towards the Festivals.

2.25 Sandown – Savello
I think he’ll go well. I’ve gone for this race instead of the Tingle Creek because of the ground and the opposition he’ll face. It’s as simple as that. The ground swung it because it’s going to be soft on the hurdles track which he will like. He runs in this getting weight off a few horses rather than in the Tingle Creek off level weights against good class horses. So it makes sense to run in this. I’m very happy with how he’s run for us so far and always planned to campaign him over both fences and hurdles, as his hurdles mark is 18lb lower than his chase mark. I learned a lot about him from his first run at Cheltenham particularly that he just wants softer ground. This ground should be perfect for him. I’m hopeful of a good run.

12.50 Huntingdon – Bon Chic
This race has broken up a bit, there are only four runners. We were happy with the way she ran at Ascot. She’s got to have a good chance based on that run. She wouldn’t want the ground horrendously soft. I always felt she wanted better ground but it was softish last time so perhaps as she’s getting older she’s getting stronger. Other than that I don’t think there’s any negatives really. She’ll like Huntingdon. Kalane is a very good mare but she fell last time which wouldn’t be the ideal prep for going over fences.

Bon Chic Southwell 2

2.00 Huntingdon – Al Ferof
I’m very happy with him. His preparation has gone smoothly. He had a gallop around Warwick. There have been no hold ups. He’s got a 10lb penalty but then so have Ptit Zig and Wishful Thinking. Petite Rose getting all the weight and coming off the back of a career best last time is probably as threatening as any of them. Other than the fact he will improve for the run, as they always improve for the run, I’m not going there screaming and shouting that he’s going to need it. He’s got a great record fresh and what will be, will be. He’s in the King George but first things first, let’s get through Sunday.

All the best

Dan