• Racing/
  • Willows Saviour Lands Ladbroke

Ladbroke (Grade 3 Handicap Hurdle) 2m

  • (4yo+, 2m, Class 1, 20 runners)
  • Winner £84,405 2nd £31,800 3rd £15,915 4th £7,950 5th £3,990 6th £1,995 7th £990 8th £510
  • Going: Soft, Heavy in places
  • Surface: Turf
Weighed In:
  • Winning time: 4m 0.30s
  • Off time: 15:35:23
  • Last Updated: December 21 2013, 17:25 GMT

Dan Skelton's arrival to the training ranks has been little less than astonishing as Willow's Saviour brought about his 15th and considerably most important winner in The Ladbroke at Ascot.

Willow's Saviour: Ladbroke winner
Willow's Saviour: Ladbroke winner

It is under than four months since Skelton sent out the first runner from his purpose-built stable in Warwickshire and, on this occasion, he was beating his long-term mentor Paul Nicholls, whose Ptit Zig finished four lengths behind in second.

Staged in near-dusk as the final event of a gloomy day, Willow's Saviour powered through the mud under the trainer's brother, Harry, as a well-backed 10/1 chance from the bottom of the handicap.

An 11-race maiden when with the eminently capable Charlie Longsdon, the six-year-old is now unbeaten in three starts for new connections, over this course last month and when sent up to Musselburgh in order to secure his berth in the £150,000 event.

Mike Vince spoke to winning trainer Dan Skelton and you can listen to the audio here.

"It hasn't really sunk in, I've experienced big days with Paul but it's completely different when you're doing it on your own," said Skelton.

"I watched the race with Paul and I turned to him and just turned to him and said, 'Sorry'. I owe that man so much, and without him there's no way I would be in this position.

"He sneaked in at the bottom and Harry has had a dream run. It's just fantastic. He had a wind op in the summer but I can't explain the progress of the horse.

"I will probably put him away until the Betfair Hurdle and he'll get a few entries for the Festival, but the horse owes us nothing already.

"Hopefully I'll train plenty of good horses in my career, but I'll never forget Willow's Saviour, that's for sure."

Harry Skelton was given a two-day whip ban (January 5-6).

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