Dan’s the man to follow at Warwick

Dan Skelton.

WITH the Cheltenham and Aintree Festivals over for another year, the 2015/16 jumps season is drawing to a close, but there are still four more meetings to come at Warwick in the next few weeks, before the course closes for its summer break, writes David Hucker.

First up is the Close Brothers Asset Finance Raceday next Thursday (21st) when the gates will open at 12.10pm, two hours before the opening race, the Close Brothers Maiden Hurdle over two miles and five furlongs, which is due off at 2.10pm.

Highlight of the seven-race card is the Class 2 Close Brothers Novices´ Limited Handicap Chase and the longest race of the afternoon is another chase over three miles and five furlongs.

The penultimate race is the Close Brothers Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race and it will pay to keep a close eye on runners from the Warwickshire stable of Dan Skelton.

Known as “bumpers” these races are designed as an introduction for young horses starting out on their careers and Skelton scored with Aintree My Dream at the last meeting and Robin Roe at the one before, with both horses having won Irish point-to-points before joining his stable.

Skelton, an ambassador for the course, is making rapid progress up the training ranks and is fast closing in on a maiden century of winners in a season, having already amassed over £1.1m in prizemoney.

The last race is a Hunters’ Chase over a trip of three miles and a furlong, run for The Crudwell Challenge Cup. The race commemorates the achievements of Crudwell, the most prolific winning horse of the 20th century, who won 50 of his 108 races between 1948 and 1960, including the Welsh Grand National when ridden by Dick Francis. At Warwick, he was successful seven times over jumps and four times on the Flat.

Looking further ahead, the course is gearing up for its newly-launched May Carnival, where the three fixtures that month which bring the season to a close will be grouped around local themes, culminating with the Think Pink Warwick Ladies Day on Wednesday 18th.

For each meeting in the Carnival, groups of 10 racegoers can have their own centre course mini marquee, with a private viewing area along the running rail towards the finish, and bring their own food and drink.

The cost is £30 per person, including five racecards, and more information is available on 01926 405560 or by email to warwick@thejockeyclub.co.uk.