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Stabletalk: “There will be an awful lot of improvement to come. She’s got to come into the reckoning”

| 01.04.2017

Top trainer Dan Skelton previews all of his weekend runners and aims for 100 season winners…

We are getting closer to the century mark of winners. We are on 95 winners which is pretty much where we were at this stage last year although we’ve run more horses this year. A few things didn’t quite go for us during the middle of this season with horses falling by the wayside, and one thing or another. It’s not been the easiest season in the world, and lots of trainers have had a few issues, but we’ve had a very good year nonetheless and it’s not finished yet.

We could end up running twelve or so at Aintree next week. I think Yorkist will have a good chance in the Red Rum chase. North Hill Harvey will go for the two and a half mile handicap. No Hassle Hoff will go for the three mile handicap and Born Survivor will go for the conditionals’ race. We’ll have a few others running too that won’t be without a chance.




1.40 Stratford – Excellent Team

We’ve got Excellent Team ready now. He’s been waiting for decent ground. He has some nice form last year against this type of horse. I’m not saying he’s improved a bundle or anything like that but a reproduction of his runs last year will take him very close. The ground will be perfect.

2.10 Stratford – I’ll Be Your Clown

I’ll Be Your Clown is the first runner for our Rio Gold racing club that we’ve set up for the first time this year.

The Rio Gold Club has 100 shares, and there are a few still available, for £3,000 a share. The Club owns ten horses and each shareholder makes that one payment that covers all costs of horses, training and racing, and is an equity share. At the end of the summer, all the horses will be sent to the October Sales, and the sales’ returns and all the prize money won will be distributed to the shareholders pro-rata. All the horses will run between now and October and hopefully we will have plenty of winners. With ten horses running the Club shareholders should be able to enjoy an average of around three runners a week. The shareholders will get fortnightly yard visits.

We are starting with a horse that has a real chance. He ran in three novice hurdles a couple of years ago but has been on the flat since. He’s rated 120. On that rating in this race he is probably one of two standard bearers. We think he has a big chance.

3.55 Stratford – Asum

We tried Asum over a bit further at Doncaster and he was way too keen. He wants two miles. Hopefully they will go a nice strong gallop around this type of track and they will draw him into it. We rated him highly last year and things haven’t quite gone his way. He needs really good ground. We are hopeful of a good run.

4.30 Stratford – Le Braye

This is his second run in a handicap. We think he wants this longer trip. It’s a competitive race, so it isn’t going to be easy, but I’m sure this step up in trip is going to help him

5.35 Stratford – Solomon Grey

Solomon Grey sets the standard here. They went a little slow in the race at Huntingdon that he ran in last time. He just got out-sprinted up the straight but then stayed on. He has the experience; he’s got to go close again.

5.25 Uttoxeter – Black Sam Bella

She won English point to point. I watched the video and it looks good as she hit the front and basically stopped. She was very green, and I think there will be an awful lot of improvement to come. She’s got to come into the reckoning.



3.05 Ascot – Value At Risk

We’ve decided to run him in this novice chase. They are all quite close on the ratings. There is only about four or five pounds between most of them when you take into account penalties. We just felt that we should get stuck in with him and see where we are. We fancied him for Cheltenham off this mark, and he missed that with a small infection in his leg,and he hasn’t run for a while. We’ve done as much as we can with him so we just want to get him on track now. I think he’ll run nicely.

5.20 Ascot – Toby Lerone

I’ve put the blinkers back on him as the ground is a bit better and we can let him stretch a bit more. I didn’t want to put them on him in the heavy ground and have him do too much. I think it’s between him and Monsieur Gibraltar.


Check out Dan’s other blogs in his exclusive archive here!





Dan Skelton

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.