WARWICKSHIRE’s Dan Skelton is one of the country’s brightest young National Hunt trainers and ambassador of Warwick Racecourse.
In his exclusive column for the Observer, he looks back on a successful start to the jumps season.
“October was the busiest month we’ve ever had – and there’s no chance to pause for breath as we’re now kicking on for the rest of this year as the season well and truly hots up.
“We fielded our most number of runners in a month with 65 going under starter’s orders and of those, we yielded 12 winners which is far from a bad return.
“I was very happy with how October went on the whole – the last couple of weeks were frustrating in that we had an odd second and third when on any other day they would have been winners, and we had one fall at the last when it should have gone on to win but that’s racing.
“That’s the most runners we will have in any one month this season and the team stood up very well so it was a good test to make sure everything is done properly and everyone knows their position.
“October also saw us make our return to Warwick’s sister racecourse Cheltenham for its first meeting of this season and Mister Miyagi certainly did us proud by winning the maiden hurdle with my brother Harry in the saddle.
“Mister Miyagi has grown up a lot this last year and he will heading back to Cheltenham this weekend for the Paddy Power Gold Cup Day, which is the second day of The Open.
“The new grandstand at Cheltenham will be officially opened during the three-day meeting and when I was there in October, it looked spectacular. The view it gives overlooking the parade ring is excellent and it will just give so much extra space on the course.
“Mister Miyagi may have grabbed the headlines for us but all of our runners went really well that weekend. I’m happy with the health of them all which is good as things are getting more and more competitive now.
“We notched up our first victory for November right at the start of the month with Girly Girl winning the first time over hurdles, and followed that with Willow’s Saviour making a winning return to action on his first start over fences in the novices chase at Warwick on the 4th so we hope to try and match October’s total.
“We’ll be returning to Warwick on Wednesday, November 18 for Midweek Jumps with a bunch of nice horses including Rene’s Girl who will be one to watch. It should be a good day for us locally and it would be great to have your support there.”