Dan Skelton: Seeking another Skelton century *H&H VIP*

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  • Opinion

    It was brilliant to pass the 100-winner mark for the season and we’ve also surpassed last year’s total, so I’m very pleased with how it’s all going.

    The horses ran well at Aintree — to have three placings in Grade One novice races is a sign we’ve plenty to look forward to.

    Captain Forez was expected to go well and he didn’t disappoint, coming second in a Grade One novices’ hurdle and he’ll take the top route next season as a novice hurdler. Virgilio finished third in the Grade One Mildmay Novices’ Chase and Bedrock in another Grade One novices’ hurdle.

    We’ve put away the softer-ground horses now and the summer runners have started to crank up. It’s all about getting my brother [jockey] Harry to his 100th win for the season. We have plenty of ammunition and the horses that like the ground are raring to go. Harry had seven wins to go at the time of writing.

    A good day for the sport

    Aintree was fantastic, the weather was great and the Liverpudlians never let you down.

    It was brilliant that all 40 horses came home safe and sound in the Grand National, showing how much racing values the race, and how much effort has been put into the welfare and safety of it.

    It’s the fifth year without any fatalities in the Grand National. Some papers slate it year after year, without even looking at the statistics, but it’s a race we should be proud of.

    I do feel the sport shot itself in the foot a bit with the Aintree stewards referring 31 out of the 40 jockeys to the British Horseracing Authority for the false start.

    I think they could have let them go rather than making them line up again and then there would have been no issue. Obviously, I’m not a starter but I thought that was unnecessary when everything else was so positive.

    A real feather in racing’s cap

    ITV seem to be doing a good job with coverage as well, the viewing figures can only grow. Racing also has a world-class anchorman now in Ed Chamberlin, he’s presented Premier League football in front of millions of viewers on Sky Sports and having him on board is a real feather in racing’s cap.

    I thought One For Arthur would go well and it was a great story, being only the second winner for Scotland and a fourth female trainer to take the race — fantastic for Lucinda Russell and her partner Peter Scudamore.

    Also for Derek Fox, to be riding in his first National and only just back from injury is really special.

    Bowing out on a high

    My dad’s retirement has been all over the news. It’s a good thing to be able to decide when to stop and to go out at the top.

    It’s not something that everyone gets right, but Dad is retiring on the back of his biggest accolade, at the same time as his top horse. There are lots of people saying he should go on, but nothing is ever guaranteed.

    He could go and try to find another horse, but that takes time, patience and luck — there are only so many really good horses out there.

    His body has taken a battering, too. Harry, Dad and I discuss everything, and there had been a lot of talk. We are all very proud of him.

    Ref Horse & Hound; 20 April 2017