Skelton to leave Nicholls
Dan Skelton is to leave Paul Nicholls' stables at Ditcheat in May and set up as a trainer in his own right next season.
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The news was broken in Nicholls' exclusive Betfair column with the Champion Trainer revealing that Skelton spoke to himself and Clifford Baker last week about his plans for the future.
It was agreed that Skelton will stay in his current job and maintain his role as assistant until the end of the season.
Skelton released the following statement: "This was not an easy decision to make, but after a lot of thought and discussion I have decided that in May 2013 I will embark on gaining my trainers' license from the BHA.
"The hardest part of this decision is no doubt the fact that I will be leaving a great team, and a great boss who, at the age of 19, welcomed me into full-time employment and the full time excitement of National Hunt Racing.
"Paul showed me great confidence and faith when taking me on as assistant with no experience, and has nurtured me into the person and professional that I am today.
"With nine years of top-class, championship-winning, experience I feel I am ready to make a start myself and will do so from my family home in Warwickshire with the support of my wife Grace, my father Nick and brother Harry.
"We have been granted permission for stabling and a six-and-a-half furlong uphill all-weather gallop near Alcester on my father's equestrian property. And, whilst this is a new venture, we aim to use all of our experience to build a top-class facility for horses and owners.
"There was never going to be an easy time to leave Ditcheat, and Grace and I cannot thank Paul, Georgie and the Barber family enough for having us.
"We are very excited about our future and I hope I can do justice to the training and education that I have received from Paul."
Skelton is to set up as a trainer at his father's farm in Warwickshire.
He was assistant trainer at Ditcheat for nine years and will be replaced by Tom Jonason who has been at the yard for three years as pupil assistant trainer.
Jonason will shadow Skelton until May and will take over his position full-time at that stage.
Nicholls took the opportunity to wish Skelton all the best for the future telling his column: "I obviously wish Dan all the best in the future. He is a great friend above all else, and I am incredibly proud to have played a part in Harry Fry's and Dan's progression to the training ranks."