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 gears up for a packed festive season.
November was a very busy month for us and I’m really happy with the horses. We’ve also had some big race winners which is fantastic but we’ve got to keep pushing now as there’s lots of racing ahead before things go a little bit quieter in January and February.
We’re running more horses than ever so that means more winners. That includes Arthamint and Rene’s Girl who were winners at the midweek jumps meeting at Warwick on November 18 – both ridden by my brother Harry. They’re doing a great job with the track at Warwick especially as the weather starts to get colder and wetter which is always a challenge.
Mister Miyagi backed up his October win at Warwick’s sister racecourse Cheltenham with another win at the novices’ hurdle at Taunton in November. Now the ground is softer we won’t be running him again until the spring and then the Supreme Novices Hurdle at Cheltenham looks a likely target.
Al Ferof then gave us a fantastic win on his debut for the team at the Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon. He jumped exuberantly throughout under Harry to win by an impressive margin.
We had a great double with Ashoka and Born Survivor at the Warwick Christmas Raceday on December 10. Ashoka is a juvenile hurdler who we like a lot, and Born Survivor was a point-to-point winner in Ireland before we bought him and we hold him in high regard.
As most people get a chance to put their feet up for a few days later this month we’ll be flat out with lots of racing over Christmas and New Year including a big meeting at Ascot this weekend. We’ve got most of our horses running at the moment with only one or two horses who are taking some time off, most notably Blue Heron. Otherwise I’m really pleased about how things are working out. We’ve just got to keep going and make sure we’re in a good place to hit our spring targets.
I’ve briefly met Andre Klein the new General Manager at Warwick who has spent the past 16 years working in the racing industry in New Zealand and Australia. I’m really impressed with what they’re doing at the racecourse and I know a lot of other people are as well.
We’ll be back at Warwick for the New Year’s Eve Raceday for what promises to be a great family start to the celebrations.