Dan Skelton Not Giving Up On Dream Of 200 Seasonal Winners

Although there are only six weeks left of the National Hunt season there is one trainer who is still firmly setting his eyes on the prize as Dan Skelton looks to become only the second ever trainer to gain 200 winners in a season.

After Cheltenham many trainers start to slowly wind there operations down with the next main festival the Grand National meeting and then the Punchestown festival over in Ireland.

However, Dan Skelton is running at full throttle after having a superb four days at Prestbury Park last week landing the Grade 1 Mares Hurdle on the Tuesday with Roksana and also taking the County Hurdle with Ch'Tibello.

With the festival over he moved on to the next meetings at the weekend gaining more winners and then on Monday at Southwell Skelton became the joint-second most successful trainer in terms of winners in a British jumps season.

He matched his former bosses total of 171 winners in a season and took his tally for the last two weeks up to 11 winners.

There is only one British trainer in the history of the sport that has gained 200 winners in a season and that is the 15 time Champion Trainer Martin Pipe.

Skelton is now just 29 wins behind joining Pipe as being one of the most successful trainers in one jumps racing season and has until 27th April to hit that magical number.

In Ireland leading trainers Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott have both seen there winners for a season surpass the 200 mark last season but Pipe still stands at the top of the leaderboard scoring the landmark number of winners eight times in his career with a record of 243 in one season.

Martin Pipe
Martin Pipe

(Credit Racing Post) Although Skelton admits that it will take a miracle to be able to land the milestone, his team are ready to give it a good go.

The trainer said: "When we got to the earliest 100 winners in a season we thought it might be possible, but then I put it out of my mind.

"We’re going to give it a whirl, knowing we need five winners a week to get there, but you need binoculars to see it!"

Skelton does not have a single runner on Tuesday but for the rest of the week has plenty of entries and if performing like he did in the back end of March and the month of April he will go on to land his target, having a combined 40 winners.

Skelton added: "We know it's a tough time with some big days of racing when it's hard to get the winners – at the Aintree festival, at Ayr and at the final meeting at Sandown.

"It’s been an amazing season with a 20 per cent strike-rate and the staff have been brilliant. It’s been a tremendous team effort and if we end up on 199 we can blame the couple of weeks of bad weather and the equine flu shutdown!"

His brother Harry Skelton has ridden 146 of the yards winners this season, being a huge part of the foundation of this family run stables and it would be great for both the jockey and the trainer if they do go on to hit this landmark.