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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’m not saying he’ll win it but he must have a big chance.

Dan Skelton runs through his weekend hopefuls

We’ve now had more winners this season than last year which is great. Of course there will come a year where we don’t do better than the previous year, that’s inevitable, but we are on an upward curve at the moment so to achieve a new record for the number of winners in a season is good. It shows that everything is working well.

We also have a chance of beating our previous best prize money total too with runners at Ayr next weekend and Sandown the week after. Harry is on 91 winners at the moment so we will keep grafting and get him to the 100 mark.

SATURDAY

3.50 Haydock – Late Night Lily

She’s top weight and it’s a very competitive race. She’s very consistent and the track and ground should be fine for her. All the horses are running well and she should be competitive.

4.20 Haydock – Sam Red

He carries top weight in what is another competitive race. He’s in good form and he’ll be suited by ground, trip and track. We’ve put blinkers on him for the first time which will hopefully eek out a bit more improvement. He deserves a win but the trouble is he keeps rising in the weights without winning, so you worry that he’s leaving his win behind thanks to the handicapper. He keeps finding improvement to keep finishing close in races. Let’s hope the blinkers can just find a little bit more and get him over the line.

3.05 Newton Abbott – Abidjan

He didn’t run so well for us the other day. He looked flat out so we are trying him over a bit further. He has no weight. We’ll see how he gets on. I’m trying things with him as I certainly haven’t found the key to him Yet.

Haydock tips November 19

3.40 Newton Abbott – Rodeo Dodo

Rodeo Dodo ran OK last time but I think he’s more of a chaser for next year. He did win an Irish Point to Point so chasing will be his game in time.

5.20 Stratford – Calling Des Blins & Sand Blast

Calling Des Blins will be handicapped after this run and I think that’s where her future lies. She should do well through the summer though, especially in mares’ affairs. Sand Blast comes back after a long break. He has the rating to go very close in this. The Warren Greatrex horse, Little Chunk, will be no pushover. On the ratings, unless the Tim Vaughan horse, Dusky Raider, is a good bit better than his flat form on his first run over hurdles off the flat, you’d have to think it was between Sand Blast and Little Chunk. We’ve only got to go ten minutes up the road to give it a shot and our horse is fresh and ready so we’ll give it a good go.

5.50 Stratford – Ashoka

I thought we’d have Ashoka back running well by now after his absence, but I’ve just not seen it. We are clutching at straws in all honesty. No doubt he’s well handicapped on old form but he’s got to do it on the track. I’ve put a tongue strap on to see if that helps.

6.50 Stratford – Spader

I think Spader is not without a chance in this race. He gets the four-year-old allowance, he ran nicely the other day, and he’s been given a fair mark of 104. I’m not saying he’ll win it but he must have a big chance.

Sir_Mangan

SUNDAY

3.45 Plumpton – Excellent Team

I was going to run Optimus Prime in this race but I saw the ground was likely to go Good To Firm so I didn’t want to risk it and decided not to declare him. So we’re running Excellent Team instead. He’ll love the ground and is in good form. He won a race, albeit not the most competitive race, the other day. He’ll like the track and it’s a good prize money pot to go for. We can always drop down in grade if it doesn’t work.

1.55 Ffos Las – Le Braye

I thought he’d run well at Stratford the other day but his jumping let him down. Whether it was the track or he just got a bit of stage fright from all the horses around him I don’t know? This track will suit him better and the race has divided so there’ll be a bit more space for him in the race. I thought he was going to start stepping up after his penultimate run when he came third but perhaps he’ll just need a race or two to get his jumping together. He shouldn’t be without an each way chance though.

3.30 Ffos Las – Stage One

The track is perfect for Stage One and the trip should be better for him too. We’ve been trying him over shorter but this should suit him better. He’s got to go well. He’s been consistent without winning.

In the latest Dan Skelton blog, Coral's horse racing ambassador talks up his Ascot and Haydock runners for December 17.

4.40 Ffos Las – Sir Mangan

We wanted to go three miles with Sir Mangan and there is a race at Cheltenham next week but the ground there looks like being too quick for him. He’s in good form after a long layoff and We’d hoped to get him in at Aintree but we just missed out. The trip is the one concern, and You are of course taking It on trust but everything points to him being fit. I’m not saying he’ll win but we’ve done as much as we can at home with him and he should run well. The plan now would be to run here and then at Haydock if the ground is Ok. Then he’ll go out for a break and come back in for racing in the Autumn.

5.15 Ffos Las – The Bay Oak

The trip will really suit The Bay Oak. He should have won at Catterick but that was my fault. I told Harry to be bold and it backfired. He pulled himself up in front. I think he’ll go really well over this trip.

5.45 Ffos Las – Sulamani The Late

He’s a bit of a monkey. He refused to race on one occasion. He just got left at the start and it was an odd scenario. He has talent but he also has his own mind about things. He is getting it all together now and It was a good run the other day. If he can build on that he’ll go close.

Dan

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