Trainer Dan Skelton has become the first jumps trainer to surpass the £1m earnings this season. He has also sent out 121 winners and is maintaining a phenomenal 21% win rate. Skelton has sent out over 500 runners so far and his rise to the top shows no signs of stopping. All that and he is still only in his 6th season of training. Nicholls and Henderson better watch out!
With all of that success also comes records. When Skelton reached his century win for the season, on October 26th at Cheltenham, he broke the record time for reaching three figures set by Martin Pipe in 2001 by nine days. While the Pipe record of 243 wins in a jumps season is the dream, being only the second British stable to top 200 wins in a season is more likely the reality. That said, he has already knocked out 121 winners so it’s not that unrealistic to think he could break the Martin Pipe record. Watch this space!
For those not particularly familiar with Dan Skelton, he is the son of Olympic gold medal showjumper Nick Skelton. He also started his training career as assistant to Champion Trainer Paul Nicholls. It would now seem that the student is fast becoming the master. But you can’t ever write Nicholls off and he excels in the big Festivals which is also where Skelton’s plans lie.
Dan Skelton said “Racing very much supports the heir apparent.
“When I was working for Paul and he kept getting beaten by Martin Pipe in the trainers’ table, it was presumed the next man to be champion trainer was Paul Nicholls. That happened.
“When AP McCoy retired, it was assumed the next man to be champion jockey was Richard Johnson. That happened.
“You can’t just spring out of the pack. We have to prove ourselves, get ourselves as high up in the table as possible and maybe our time will come.”
Skelton’s biggest problem will come with the quality of Cheltenham Festival runners that he has at his disposal. Yes, he has sent out over 500 runners so far but a quick glance down the cards of possible entires for the 2019 Cheltenham Festival and it’s clear that Nicholls, Mullins, Elliott and Henderson are still the biggest players.
Of course that doesn’t necessarily mean they will win but you have to have a decent hand in play to have a shot at bringing home the big trophies. For now we will have to wait and see what direction Skelton goes in and whether he can topple the big boys at the top and finally get his hands on the Trainers Championship title.