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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 really looking forward to running him. He should go well…”

Ashoka

HORSE RACING

I’m very happy with Ashoka. I was going to run him at Ascot three weeks ago but he wasn’t quite right in the morning so I’ve left him until now. I wasn’t worried about him, he’s 100% now and I’m really looking forward to running him. The cheekpieces are on to sharpen him up. He should go well.

Paul Nicholls v Willie Mullins

Paul Nicholls

Willie is a lovely guy and I know him a little bit, but I’m 100% in the Paul Nicholls’ camp. I think Paul has a big advantage as he goes into the day in front. To be honest the most important horse tomorrow in this battle is Sprinter Sacre; if he wins the Celebration Chase and takes away that big first prize from Willie Mullins, then I think Willie will struggle to catch Paul. Nicky Henderson could be Paul’s saviour!

The Skelton Centuries

Newbury Friday

Once Harry and I had got so close to our respective centuries I was determined to go for it, and there was no way I was going to leave Harry behind if I did it. The century is probably more important for a jockey than a trainer. For a trainer the benchmark is to get past the million pound mark. We set ourselves the lofty ambition of getting 100 winners and £1 million in prize money for the season as there had only been nine jump trainers in British racing history that had done it, and we are now the tenth. It is quite an achievement, and one I am really proud of.

Now it’s a case of onwards and upwards and try to do even better next year. If I had to mark myself out of ten, I’d probably under-score it. Perhaps 7.5 out of 10, “could do better”.

If I had to mark myself out of ten, I’d probably under-score it. Perhaps 7.5 out of 10, “could do better”.

Season Highlights

Cheltenham Friday

Obviously getting the winner at Cheltenham Festival with Superb Story was one of the highlights of the season, as was winning the Scottish Champion Hurdle with Ch’tibello. Three Musketeers winning the Berkshire Novice Chase at Newbury and Al Ferof winning the Peterborough were both great moments, and Two Taffs being my one hundredth winner and Harry getting his hundredth winner were the golden nuggets of the season. As my Dad says, it’s not about what you win in a day it’s about what you win over a lifetime. You can apply that to a season, as you can analyse any day and say “that should have won” or “why did that get beat”, but it only matters how you end up at the end of the season and a hundred winners and over a million pounds in prize money is a job well done.

Looking Ahead

Savello

I’m only going to run Savello at Punchestown. I’ve roughed Value At Risk off and Long House Hall is going to be primed towards the Galway Plate. Savello runs in the Grade One Champion Chase on Tuesday, and whilst we know we can’t win it would be nice to be third or fourth as there’s good prize money on offer. He’s had a great season, has won more than he cost, and hopefully he’ll have another productive year next year.

The season then all starts again. I’m going to have some runners in France during the spring, and I’ll have plenty of runners here over the summer. We’ll just keep on going, with the aim of doing even better next year!

Dan