WARWICKSHIRE’s Dan Skelton is one of the country’s brightest young National Hunt trainers and ambassador of Warwick Racecourse.
In his latest column for the Observer he looks ahead to Warwick’s new season which gets underway on Tuesday, September 22.
“We had a really great start to the summer and a very successful May, June and first half of July.
“Not much went wrong, but we then suffered because the horses had done their winning and were being badly handicapped for it.
“The handicapper gets a handle on the successes and the horses aren’t as fresh and their tank is not quite as full at the end of the summer as it is at the start and that takes its toll. But we won 23 races and we had a winner late last week so I can’t complain!
“We have one, maybe two runners, at Warwick Racecourse on September 22 but it all starts in earnest for us at the beginning of October and we have 75 or 80 horses to run through the winter.
“Compared to last year we are in a totally different place. It is hard to put a number on it but we are probably up by 20 to 25 horses and in terms of quality we have risen in the leagues.
“We want to keep getting better, win more races and keep moving up the table, but to do that you have to take every opponent very seriously.
“Our new horses have come from a wide variety of sources. There are a few French ones, some Irish point-to-pointers and some unraced ones. There is no set mould of where you get horses from these days, you have to get out there and look for them everywhere, but I think we have got a really strong cross-section.
“At this time of year it is easy to be excited, because they are unbeaten! Everyone will have targets and most of them will be over-ambitious, and not all the plans you make will come off, but that does not mean that you will not achieve.
“I am looking forward to having horses running again at Warwick Racecourse. I know that Warwick and Jockey Club Racecourses have a vision for the course and I certainly think that it is achievable.
“They can raise the bar there significantly and there will not be any professionals who disagree with the aim to have high quality racing at Warwick. It is a great course and will only get better.
“That’s great because there are a lot of racecourses happy to just exist, but Warwick is not one of them and I am sure it can go onward and upward.”