Dan Skelton enjoyed a memorable day at Cheltenham as he saddled his 100th winner, breaking Martin Pipe’s record for the fastest century of winners in a season.
Pipe set the previous mark back in 2001 and it looked as though Skelton would have to wait a little longer to chalk up his 100th victory of the campaign when One For Billy ran out with glory seemingly within his grasp after jumping the last in the squareintheair.com Novices’ Chase.
However, the pendulum swung back in Skelton’s favour in the Ryman Stationery Cheltenham Business Club Amateur Riders’ Handicap Chase as Sam Red grabbed a last-gasp verdict after likely winner Oighear Dubh ducked out at exactly the same point.
Skelton was full of sympathy for Oighear Dubh’s team, but also thrilled to achieve the milestone so early in the year.
He said: “It has been an unbelievable day.
“I was so mad earlier. I let myself down and I let everybody down by getting so mad. It couldn’t be helped earlier and what has the kid on the horse that was going to win there done wrong – nothing. The horse did exactly the same thing as One For Billy.
“To get 100 winners like that for the team is great. Phil Haywood does all the travelling, Tom Messenger goes everywhere with Harry (Skelton, jockey), and Harry has ridden all those horses.
“It has been amazing. We set out to go and have a great summer, but it’s incredible really.
“I never thought it was possible. Things like this happen, somebody has to get the fastest hundred every year and we wanted to try and do that.”
Skelton admitted it was extra special to claim his 100th win at Prestbury Park, but was also keen to acknowledge the parameters have changed dramatically since Pipe’s day.
He added: “There is a long way to go before you can hold a candle to a man like him (Martin Pipe). It was always going to be beaten as there wasn’t as much summer racing in his day. Time moves on and records change.
“Of course it does mean more to have the 100th winner at Cheltenham.”