WARWICKSHIRE’s Dan Skelton is one of the country’s brightest young National Hunt trainers and ambassador of Warwick Racecourse.
In his latest Observer column, he reflects on successes over the festive period and looks ahead to Warwick’s next fixture on Saturday, January 16.
“We were happy with Boxing Day when Al Ferof had a great run at the William Hill King George VI Chase at Kempton under Harry to come in third behind Cue Card and Vautour.
“He’s looking good for the Cheltenham Festival and I’m 99 per cent certain we’ll be entering him into the Ryanair Chase which is on the Thursday. The Festival is not far away, so we’ll start gearing up for the week from now on.
“It took us until December 30 to have a winner during the festive period when It’safreebee won under Bridget Andrews up at Haydock on his debut for the team.
“The weather has made it difficult recently. The ground has just gone completely for us, it’s been very heavy in a lot of places, so we’re not going to be running many horses during January.
“As we all know the English weather is very hard to call. Last year it wasn’t too bad, but the year before it was pretty horrendous. We’ve had a lot of rain recently, but who knows what it will be like in three weeks’ time.
“We’ll probably have three horses going to Warwick for the Betfred Classic Chase Day on Saturday, January 16. We won the Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle with Three Musketeers at the meeting last year, and we’re going to run Born Survivor this year.
“Born Survivor is a lovely horse who we like a lot and he’ll have a good chance. It’s always a good race and hopefully we can win back-to-back races.
“We might also run What A Good Night or Upepito at Warwick, but as I said before we’ll be going steady this month as when the ground is like this the sensible option is not to run too many.
“Looking back at 2015 as a whole, we had 97 winners over the year which we were really happy with. We’ve now got to try and better that – it’s as simple as that.
“On a side note, it was fantastic to see AP McCoy knighted in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List. AP has been a leading light for the industry, not just professionally but also personally, so it’s great for him and richly deserved.”