Local Trainer Dan Skelton Targeting More Grade One Success - The Leamington Observer

Local Trainer Dan Skelton Targeting More Grade One Success

Leamington Editorial 2nd Feb, 2024   0

Leading Jumps trainer Dan Skelton is based just down the road from Leamington at his Lodge Hill Stables in Shelfield, and preparations at his yard are well underway for the 2023/24 campaign in the sport.

Last season was an excellent campaign for Skelton, with the highlight being his Grade One success in the Lancashire Chase at Haydock in November. His chaser Protektorat beat a strong field in the opening big race of the season in the division.

Skelton will be hoping the eight-year-old can retain his crown in the 3m contest in the latest renewal when he returns to the same race for his seasonal reappearance. It will be his first run since he finished fifth in the Cheltenham Gold Cup at the Cheltenham Festival back in March.

Owned by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson and his business partners, Protektorat has an official rating of 166, one of the highest in the 3m chase division. For Skelton to achieve his ambition of becoming Champion Trainer this season, Protekotrat is one of the horses in his stable that he will need to win his main targets.

The King George VI Chase at Kempton and Cheltenham Gold Cup are likely to be his next assignment should things go to plan at Haydock. With 12 appearances as a chaser, he now has lots of experience over fences. His connections will be hoping he can take the next step in his career by adding his name to the roll of honour in the Blue Riband event of the Cheltenham Festival, the Gold Cup.

L’Homme Presse Among Those Taking on Defending Champion

There are currently 14 rivals set to take on Protektorat in this year’s Lancashire Chase, one of which is L’Homme Presse. Two seasons ago, he was one of the leading novice chasers in the UK, with victory coming at the Cheltenham Festival.

L’Homme Presse is trained by Venetia Williams, one of Skelton’s rivals for the Trainers’ Championship this season. She is a trainer who has an excellent reputation for improving her horses, which is why she is trusted by so many owners in the sport, including in racehorse ownership syndicates like RaceShare. The former Grand National winner will be doing all she can to help her latest star chaser’s progression this season.

With six wins from his eight starts over fences, L’Homme Presse has an excellent record. Four of those triumphs have come at graded level. However, he does need to bounce back from his latest performance, as he unseated his rider in the 2022 King George VI Chase at Kempton.

Like the majority of Williams’ horses, L’Homme Presse has proved he can handle testing conditions, so if lots of rain does fall on Haydock Racecourse ahead of the Lancashire Chase, the ground will not be a problem for the third-season chaser.

In what should be a fantastic renewal of the Grade One race, it could dictate how the season goes for many of the leading trainers in the UK, including Skelton, as they look to prove they can get the better of their rivals from Ireland at the major meetings in the sport.


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