Dan Skelton continued his quick ascent up the training ranks in 2015/16 by winning his largest amount of prize money, training his highest number of winners and saddling his first Cheltenham Festival victor. Here, the Warwickshire trainer discusses his progressive string which could lead him to further glories.
Dan Skelton celebrated a first Cheltenham Festival winner when Superb Story landed the Vincent O’Brien County Hurdle last in March and that well-named individual more than reflects the rapid rise through the ranks of his young trainer.
Now his fourth season with a trainer’s licence, Skelton has already 24 winners and over £232,000 in prize money and is within in touching distance of beating his first season score in 2013/2014 when 27 came his way.
That was increased to 73 in 2014/2015 but the walls came tumbling down last season when 104 winners and over £1,255,000 in prize money was netted on the domestic front.
Superb Story is one of an elite team of hurdlers being readied to grace the jumping scene once more and Virgilio set out his stalls as very much a novice chaser to follower when scoring impressively at Newton Abbot last week.
Skelton has plenty of upwardly-mobile ammunition to call on in the coming months and kindly guided Tony Elves of attheraces.com through some of his leading prospects.
Runner-up, beaten three quarters of a length, to Clondaw Cracker in a Warwick bumper in April.
“He ran well at Warwick in a bumper and we like him. He is going to start at two miles over hurdles but he will definitely end up being a stayer. He’s a chaser as well and is a lovely, lovely horse.”
139-rated hurdler. Winner over hurdles at Uttoxeter and Exeter last season and runner-up in a conditions event at Enghien.
“He ran well in a conditions hurdle at Enghien in the Spring but is very much a chaser and is a great big horse who will go novice chasing. He will run at most trips but I reckon he will eventually end up being a stayer.”
Winning Irish point-to-pointer who won his only bumper at Warwick in March.
“He is a real nice horse who won his only start for us at Warwick after winning an Irish point. He will go to Aintree on October 23rd for a two and a half mile novices’ hurdle and then we will go from there.”
148-rated chaser. Made a winning debut over fences at Warwick in May when beating Rock On Oscar 13 lengths and followed up with another impressive display in an intermediate chase at Newton Abbot last week when slamming Brother Tedd six lengths.
“He has made an excellent start to his chasing career and followed up his first success with another exhilarating display at Newton Abbot last week. He goes for the Rising Stars at Wincanton on November 5th and if he carries on as he is then the long term target is the Pendil Novices’ Chase at Kempton.”
For more Dan Skelton horses go to attheraces.com