Skelton keen to kick on after reaching 100 winners in double-quick time
Trainer Dan Skelton is keen to press on after reaching 100 winners for the season on Monday in a time so quick that it is reminiscent of the days of Martin Pipe.
The century was brought up by Destrier at Leicester, and Skelton said on Tuesday: "It's been great, the horses have all been running superbly well. We had a great start to the season and there's been a steady trickle since and it's a great fillip for the whole team that we've got the 100 up so quickly."
Skelton's former boss Paul Nicholls brought up a career-best of 171 winners last season in his pursuit of the trainers' title. Nicholls, currently on 61 winners for the season but still Skelton's nearest pursuer on that score, was on just 69 winners at the same stage 12 months ago.
Skelton, who was overtaken by Nicholls at the top of the prize-money-based trainers' championship standings over the weekend, insists he is not driven by such numbers.
"We've no targets for the season as such," he said. "We just have to aim to get as many winners as possible – you can't rest on your laurels. I'm probably not going to be champion trainer this season, but it certainly does no harm having so many winners and you just have to kick on."
Nicholls' return of 171 last season is the best of any trainer in the modern era, with the exception of Martin Pipe. Pipe bettered that total more than a dozen times during his career and topped the 200 barrier eight times.
The set of circumstances that allowed Pipe to accrue winners at that rate were probably unique and the scale of his success duly inimitable. Skelton's early-season form, while not pitching in that league, is on pace with anything else we have seen.
The good news extends beyond the man with his name on the licence. Stable jockey and brother Harry is a clear second in the jockeys' standings, giving champion Richard Johnson more cause for concern than in either of his championship-winning seasons since the retirement of Sir Anthony McCoy, as Johnson himself acknowledged over the weekend.
Trainer Skelton added: "It's been great for Harry, too. He's only 11 behind, although it will probably get tougher for him through the winter – you just have to keep kicking."
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