Dan Skelton – Trainer Profile

Dan Skelton
Circuit: UK, Ireland and US
Date of Birth:
Lodge Hill, Shelfield Green, Alcester, Warwickshire
UK and Ireland
Notable Horses:
Willow’s Savior, Blue Heron, What A Warrior
Titles Awarded:
Biggest Wins:
  • £84,405: The Ladbroke (A Handicap Hurdle) (Grade 3) – Dec 21, 2013
  • £56,270: United House Gold Cup Handicap Chase (Grade 3) – Nov 1, 2014
  • £34,170: Bathwick Tyres Kingwell Hurdle (Grade 2) – Feb 14, 2015

About Dan Skelton

Normally when speaking about racing pedigrees it’s our four-legged we’re discussing, but in this case there can be few horsemen with a better pedigree than rising star trainer, Dan Skelton.

His father, Nick Skelton, has long been one of the world’s top show jumpers and in 2012 was part of the British team that took gold in the discipline at the London Olympics, and between the years 2004 -2013 Dan was assistant trainer to one of the all-time great jumps trainers, Paul Nicholls, who was crowned champion trainer in all but one of the seasons while Dan was part of the team.

Like his father, Dan Skelton set out to be a show jumper but he eventually found his calling coming in jumps racing, and after learning his trade with Nicholls took out a trainer’s licence in the 2013/14 season, making a tremendous start to his new career in sending out 27 winners from just 171 runners, at a winning strike rate of 16%.

Based next door to his father’s show jumping yard at Alcester in Warwickshire, Skelton has fast become a favourite with punters who see him as a potential future champion. His horses are schooled at home benefitting from the trainer’s keen eye for a fence developed during his time in the show jumping sphere, and he has attracted a number of influential jumps racing owners, a sure sign that his abilities have been noted in all the right places.

Skelton really hit the headlines last winter when sending out Willow’s Saviour to land the valuable Grade 3 Ladbroke Handicap Hurdle at Ascot, the 10/1 shot (ridden by Dan’s brother Harry), staying on well after the final flight to defeat none other than his former boss Paul Nicholls’ Ptit Zig by four lengths, claiming the £84,000 winner’s prize.

At just 28-years-old Skelton’s star appears very much in the ascendant and already this season he has made a flying start, sending out 15 winners from just 60 runners to the end of August, at an impressive winning strike rate of 25%.

The big challenge will be to maintain a good winning percentage as the season develops and the bigger yards start to bring their best horses to the races, but it looks a certainty that Skelton will surpass his total of last season and could well even come close to reaching 50 winners by the end of the campaign in May.

Brother Harry Skelton is Dan’s stable jockey and has ridden the vast majority of the stable’s winners, amassing some 37 wins at a strike rate of 18%. It’s also worth noting that on the rare occasions Skelton has turned to Ryan Mahon to ride, Mahon has struck with 2 wins from 4 rides, while Ian Popham has won on 2 of his 5 yards for the stable.

It’s very impressive that Skelton’s best winning percentage is at no less a track than Ascot (3 wins from 7 runners at a strike rate of 43%), while he also has very healthy figures at Wincanton (40%), Southwell (38%), Stratford (30%), and Huntingdon (29%) [1].

*Along with the likes of Aidan O´Brien, Skelton is part of this new generation of trainers in the UK.