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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: “We were always going to come here and I quite fancy this horse’s chances”

Saturday

2.25 Ayr
We run Pain Au Chocolat in the novice chase and we think he will appreciate the step up in trip. It’s a very strong novice chase though, we weren’t expecting it to be as deep as this. We were never going to go to Cheltenham and we considered Aintree but Douvan turned up. We are really happy with him. He’s fresh, had a good run last time over hurdles and he won two chases before. I’m not saying he’s going to win but he must have a decent chance.

3.00 Ayr
Horse Racing - Halloween Raceday - Ascot Racecourse

In the Scottish Champion Hurdle we run Ch’Tibello who is a horse we have kept for the spring. We would not want any more rain; just on the soft side is fine but if it ends up on the heavy side, I probably would not run him. I don’t think that is going to happen though. He’s got a nice weight and he’s fresh, well and ready.

4.45 Ayr
Two Taffs runs in this handicap hurdle over 2m5f. Everything that could have gone wrong on his last start at Sandown did go wrong. He started as favourite but just had a nightmare run. Everywhere Harry went, he got trouble. He just could not get through. You have to play him late so you are always susceptible to that luck angle. I am really happy with him, he gets a nice weight and the ground is ok as he acts on soft.

5.20 Ayr
In the conditionals and amateurs race, we saddle Oldgrangewood and we’re entitled to fancy him a bit I think. We were always going to come here as Chris Giles who owns him is a local man, and he won his maiden hurdle at the track here six weeks ago. They haven’t adjusted his mark which I think is fair. Bridget’s brother Jack will be riding him. Jack’s just starting out but he’s ridden winners point-to-pointing and has had one winner under rules. His Dad was Champion Amateur and both of his sisters have been Champion Lady Amateurs so he has a good pedigree. This is a big day for him but if his family temperament follows suit it won’t get to him.

5.35 Bangor
As long as the ground is not too bad at Bangor, I’ll run Al Shahir in the bumper. I pulled him out at Warwick as the ground was not right for him. Bridget really likes him but he is very much a jumper for the future.

Sunday

Dan Skelton

I have three runners at Wetherby in the quest for our 100th winner of the season but I’ll be keeping an eye on the weather as we would not want too much more rain.

3.10 Wetherby
On numbers alone Late Night Lily has a big chance in this race. She is rated 108 along with the top horse Angel Face so we are expecting a good run.

4.20 Wetherby
Red Tornado leads the figures in this novice hurdle with an official rating of 126 so he must have a big chance of coming out on top in what will be only his third start over hurdles. He finished third on his debut but he must not have been fit. I had done plenty of work on him at home but he improved at Ludlow to pick up the win.

5.20 Wetherby
Finally, in the mares’ bumper we saddle Seelateralligator. She’s worked well at home and her half-brother won a bumper. She also gets an allowance for being four and she will handle the cut in the ground. She’ll run a good race but that’s not saying she will surely win. You never know with some horses as they sometimes can need the run and there will be improvement from them later down the line.