Our man Dan Skelton prepares for a tilt at the 2018 Grand National

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Virgilio is my first ever runner in the Grand National.

It is great to have a runner in the race and the owners and I are really looking forward to it. It’s on the bucket list for any professional trainer.

The four Grade Ones at Cheltenham, the Grand National, and the King George are the holy grail of racing. Unless you’re an Irishman in which case you can add in a few more!

Virgilio is great around Aintree. I am sure he will love the trip.

Whether he gets it or not, I don’t know but I think he will enjoy it all the same, as these long distance races are about tempo and rhythm.

They will obviously go fast over the first few and then he can get into that rhythm. We can ride him negatively, let him warm-up and if we are there after a circuit, then harry can think about the race.

There is no pressure on the horse, he has been magical and we are just biting off a big lump here and seeing how we get on really.

At the end of the day he is a very big price and we have to be realistic about our chances. Although 100/1 shots have won before!

If he can jump a clear round, and finish in the first eight…magic!

Anything after that is a bonus. Unless you are one of the favourites, you shouldn’t really expect anything more than that in the Grand National.

Dan

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Dan Skelton

Since starting out on his own, Warwickshire trainer Dan Skelton has assembled one of the most exciting stables in National Hunt racing. Having enjoyed their first Cheltenham Festival success with Superb Story in 2016, Skelton and the team are hungry for more. Get the latest from the Lodge Hill maestro exclusively at Ladbrokes News.