Dan has worked with horses for his whole life and spent nine years as Assistant Trainer to Champion National Hunt Trainer Paul Nicholls. Now, with that invaluable experience under his belt, he has embarked on his own training career and concluded his first season’s training with 27 winners under his belt, including Willow’s Saviour’s memorable victory in the 2013 Ladbroke Hurdle at Ascot.
Dan’s equine pedigree is second to none and his early experience with showjumpers brings a unique perspective to the training of National Hunt horses. This, combined with almost a decade of experience under a master Trainer, allows Dan to bring out the best in the horses entrusted to his care.
Dan had a handful of rides as an Amateur Jockey and did in fact ride a winner, however training was always where his main interest lay. After a week with Paul Nicholls in Somerset to improve his knowledge and skills, he was offered the job as Pupil Assistant which he duly took up. After a month he became Assistant Trainer at Manor Farm Stables and spent nine seasons in Ditcheat, during which time he was fortunate enough to associate with some of the best horses, jockeys, owners and professionals in the industry, experience that he now brings to bear in his own training enterprise.
With the Lodge Hill team now well established, success has continued to flow and the future looks strong with an increase in both the number and quality of horses. Notable winners that Dan has trained since establishing the facility at Lodge Hill include early success at Grade 3 level with the likes of Willow’s Saviour, Shelford, What A Warrior and Grade 2 victories with Three Musketeers, Blue Heron, Al Ferof, Its’afreebee, Ch’tibello, Value At Risk and more recently North Hill Harvey & Roksana. It was during the 2016 Cheltenham Festival that both Dan and Harry scored their first Cheltenham winner when Superb Story scored a memorable victory in the Vincent O’Brien County Hurdle, and further Festival success followed with Mohaayed taking the 2018 renewal of the very same race under Bridget Andrews.
The 2018-19 season saw an unprecedented level of success, with the team turning out over 200 winners to match the feat achieved before only by Martin Pipe during the 1990s. A first success for Team Skelton at Grade 1 level came courtesy of Roksana in the olbg.com Mares’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, whilst Ch’tibello added a further victory in the County Hurdle to previous successes in the race. Aux Ptits Soins was a first Aintree Festival winner for the team, and Graded success outside of the Spring festivals came courtesy of the likes of Beakstown (Leamington Novices’ Hurdle at Warwick) & Mohaayed (Betfair Exchange Trophy) along with plenty of success at Listed level throughout the season.
Dan recognises the importance of having a strong team around you and is extremely proud of the dynamic, experienced and dedicated team of staff at Lodge Hill.