Rookie trainer Skelton plans raid on Musselburgh

Trainer Dan Skelton. Pic: PA Wire
Trainer Dan Skelton. Pic: PA Wire
Have your say

Rookie trainer Dan Skelton has a 100 per cent record at Musselburgh and stages another raid on the prizes at the East Lothian track tomorrow.

Based at Alcester in Warwickshire, he has already saddled 16 winners in his first season with a licence and Willow’s Saviour scored over hurdles at Musselburgh in November – his only runner so far at the seaside venue.

Formerly assistant to champion trainer Paul Nicholls, Skelton can saddle Stephanie Frances to win the Cosmic Case Mares Novices Hurdle (2.20) under his jockey brother Harry. The six-year-old made a successful debut last year in a bumper at Punchestown and was bought afterwards by Skelton for 50,000 guineas.

She may well have found the slow pace against her when only fourth on her hurdling bow at Southwell early last month on her first run for her new connections, but she will be fitter now and much better is expected with that experience under her belt.

Drumlang is another who can make the trip from the Midlands pay off by winning the Buy your 2014 Annual Members Badge Today Handicap Chase (3.20) for Ian Williams.

The gelding is best going right handed as four of his five victories have come when galloping that way round, so Musselburgh will suit.

He was third on his return to action at Ludlow in September after a summer break before winning over two miles there and he scored in easy fashion at Leicester recently after stepping up in trip.

Worcester-based Williams seems to have found another suitable opportunity tomorrow when the two-and-a-half mile trip should prove ideal and the gelding can overcome a 7lb hike in the ratings.

Yorkshire trainer Brian Ellison saddles expensive purchase Racing Europe in the Racing UK Standard National Hunt Flat race (3.55) and the gelding can make a successful start to his career under rules.

The five-year-old comes from a decent French family and changed hands for 120,000 guineas last month after a couple of good runs in the Irish point-to-point field where he was fourth on his debut and then won easily.

He is reported to have been going well since transferring to Yorkshire and Brian is certainly building up a powerful string – both on the flat and over hurdles and he does well at Musselburgh. He can initiate a double with Spin Cast in the Bluebird Care Selling Hurdle (1.50) for the gelding has made the frame in all four of his races over obstacles.

A winner three times on the level, the six-year-old joined Ellison’s Malton yard in November and has been third at Ludlow and third at Catterick in two outings for his present handler. Indeed, he may well have won the latter occasion but for an error at the final flight and he takes a drop in grade tomorrow.

Musselburgh selections: 1.50 Spin Cast; 2.20 Stephanie Frances; 3.20 Drumlang; 3.55 Racing Europe.