Dan Skelton Profile
|Born||Apr 09, 1985|
Leading jumps trainer Dan Skelton's rise to the top of his sport has been no accident.
If ever a trainer looked destined to achieve success then Dan Skelton would be odds-on favourite.
The son of Olympic gold medal winner Nick Skelton, who has been at the top of the showjumping world for decades, Skelton has been around horses all his life.
His training career was founded upon both that equine-immersed upbringing and a nine-year association with Paul Nicholls and his team at Ditcheat.
Kauto Star, Denman et al
The diligent Skelton learned much from one of the sport's all-time greats and did so at a time when the Nicholls team arguably reached its zenith, the era Kauto Star, Denman, Master Minded, Big Buck's and many more.
During this period, the young Skelton rose to become Nicholls' trusted assistant. In addition to soaking up all he could with regard to the training of horses, his stock also rose in public due to his willingness to engage with the media.
Dan Skelton takes out his own training licence
Ambitious, articulate, affable and with so much equine nous, it was no surprise when, in 2013, Skelton left Ditcheat with the blessing of Nicholls to pursue his own career as a trainer.
In a relatively short time that has proved to be a masterstroke as, from his Warwickshire base, he has gone on to bite the hand of the man that once fed him and plenty of others besides.
The Dan Skelton landmarks
Hitting the century mark for winners trained in a season for the first time in the 2015-16 campaign, he has now achieved that feat on six successive occasions.
By far and away his best to date was the astonishing 205 he sent out to win in the 2018/19 season, when his string amassed a total of £2,301,457 in prize money. He was only the second trainer, after that great record breaker Martin Pipe, to have achieved such a feat.
It is no surprise that such stats saw the Alcester-based handler reach 1,000 winners in very quick time, celebrating the feat in just his ninth season when Faivoir triumphed in the Windsor Horse Rangers Novices' Limited Handicap Chase at Ascot in November 2021.
Cheltenham Festival successes
Although Skelton has yet to find a major champion of his own within the yard, it seems a matter of when, not if, he will achieve such success in his own right.
He already has four Cheltenham Festival winners to his name, three of them in the County Hurdle (Superb Story, 2016; Mohaayed, 2018 and Ch'tibello, 2019), plus 2019 David Nicholson Mares' Hurdle winner Roksana.
Those County Hurdle successes underline how is capable of targeting big races and being able to assess the ability of his horses to the extent that he knows when they are well treated, even for such competitive events when others will feel the same. There will surely be more to come.
Skelton stable stars
In addition to the sport's biggest four days, Skelton has notched up other notable successes through Allmankind (Finale Juvenile Hurdle, 2019 and Henry VIII Novices' Chase, 2020); Shan Blue (Kauto Star Novices' Chase, 2020); My Drogo (Mersey Novices' Hurdle, 2021) and Protektorat (Manifesto Novices' Chase, 2021); West Cork (Greatwood Hurdle, 2021); Nube Negra (Schloer Chase, 2021).
In Protektorat, My Drogo and Nube Negra, the Skelton stable now looks to have three horses who can genuinely challenge for major race honours and lift the yard to another level.
Dan's partnership with younger brother and now top jockey Harry Skelton, who passed his own 1,000 winner landmark a month earlier than his sibling, looks set to blossom and flourish in the years ahead.
Dan Skelton personal life
Skelton's father is world-class show jumper Nick Skelton. His younger brother Harry is a champion jockey contender and forms part of Team Skelton at the Lodge Hill stables in Alcester, Warwickshire. Harry is married to fellow jumps jockey Bridget Andrews.
Dan is married to wife Grace, who helps run the business side of affairs at Team Skelton.
Skelton's mother Sarah died in 2006.
Dan Skelton News
- Apr 20, 2022