Harry Skelton became the latest jockey to ride 1,000 career winners when Dorisa Queen landed the first division of the Wildix Unified Communications Handicap Hurdle at Stratford.
Skelton, who has formed a formidable partnership with his trainer brother Dan, enjoyed one of his more straightforward successes on the 3-1 favourite.
The current National Hunt champion jockey, having prevailed in a tussle with Brian Hughes last season, Skelton still has some way to go to catch Sir Anthony McCoy, who is the all-time record-breaker on 4,348 winners. But at only 32 years old, Skelton has his eyes on moving some way up the list.
He won the Irish Grand National on Bob Buckler’s Niche Market back in 2009 – and although his career then appeared to be stalling until his brother took out a licence, the winners have not stopped flowing since.
“It’s nice to do it at Stratford – it’s our local course, and we’ve had a lot of winners here,” Skelton told Racing TV.
“Obviously my brother Dan got my career back on track, and without him this would never have happened. I’m very grateful to all the team at home who work endless hours and never grumble. A lot of winners are all down to them, and I’m very grateful to be in this position.
“I’ve had 995 in the UK, three in France and two in Ireland. In a few days, I’ll hopefully be celebrating 1,000 British winners!
“It’s a great honour to ride 1,000 – and I’m still only 32, so I worked out if I can ride 125 for the next eight years I can hit 2,000. So that is the next goal.”
As for career highlights, he said: “I remember my first winner as clear as day, Temper Lad for Jimmy Frost at Exeter (2007) in an amateur race – I’ve come a fair way since then.
“To pick one or two, our first (Cheltenham) Festival winner was very special (Superb Story, County Hurdle 2016), and Ch’tibello (County Hurdle 2019) was very special – but I’ve been very lucky and ridden a lot of nice horses.
“I love my job, I love being in the yard every day, and to pick one out is very hard to do.”