Which horse was Dan Skelton’s first winner as a trainer?
Dan Skelton is, of course, the elder son of Olympic showjumper Nick Skelton and the elder brother of Harry Skelton, who won the Jump Jockeys’ Championship in 2021. Formerly assistant to multiple champion trainer Paul Nicholls, with whom he spent nine years, Dan Skelton set up on his own at Lodge Hill Stables – a training centre purpose-built by his father – near Alcester, Warwickshire in 2013.
Skelton saddled his first winner as a trainer, at the ninth time of asking, when Mister Grez, ridden by his brother, won the Tanners Wines Handicap Chase at Ffos Las on October 13, 2013. He finished his inaugural season with a respectable 27 winners and just over £327,000 in prize money but, by 2015/16, had increased his seasonal tally to 104 winners and £1.26 million in prize money.
In 2018/19, Skelton enjoyed his most successful season so far, reaching the impressive total of 205 winners – a figure only previously achieved by the all-conquering Martin Pipe – and amassing just over £2.3 million in prize money. That season, Skelton achieved the first of his six Grade 1 wins, so far, courtesy of Roksana in the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. By that stage of his career, he had already won the County Handicap Hurdle twice, with Superb Story in 2016 and Mohaayed in 2018, and he would win the same race again with Ch’tibello three days later.