Dan Skelton talks 2018, 2019 and New Year’s Day racing
It’s been a tremendous 2018 in which the stable recorded the earliest century of winners in a jumps season back in October, beating the previous best set by Martin Pipe in November 2001.
I know back in Martin’s day perhaps there wasn’t quite so much summer racing but records are there to be broken and I know how much planning, time and effort achieving that feat involved.
But I can announce we are going to have a bit of change of strategy with a new policy for next season. As a result we will have less horses to run during the summer in 2019.
We didn’t end up with summer horses in 2018, we bought them for the summer, and it was a dedicated strategy that has reaped its rewards. I feel it highlights our ability as a team to plan and carry out a plan.
We have always bought quality and there will be a more than ever concerted effort on that front.
One of the main motivators for this change is that we will not be wearing each other out from a personnel side so we’ll all be sharper for the core winter period.
We have five runners at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day beginning with Supremely Lucky (12.15). He’s been running over three miles but I think the drop back in trip looks like it will suit him.
Though it’s hard to say he will be winning, I think he has an outside each way chance.
I have put blinkers on Sir Mangan (12.50). I’ve used headgear on him in the past and I think this is the time to go for it again. He stays the trip well, he is in form and I think he has a little chance.
The Dipper looks a very good novice chase but I was very impressed by Crucial Role (1.25) when he won at Uttoxeter.
I don’t know if he goes uphill and down dale, but I would rather find out on January 1 than leave it to the spring. We will see here, but that was a very good run at Uttoxeter. I am very happy with him.
Born Survivor (2.00) wants a bit of nice ground and it has stayed that way for him. He has been in training all winter but we have been picking and choosing our ground for him.
He is in the middle of the weights here and that looks perfect. How competitive he can be off his handicap mark is up to him but he is in good form at home.
I was really happy with the comeback run of Aux Ptits Soins (2.35) at Newbury where he just blew up two out. He has come on for that and hopefully he has a big chance in this.
Happy New Year