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'They just don't miss' - Skelton hails De Bromhead and Blackmore dominance

Leading trainer Dan Skelton has lauded Henry de Bromhead and his team, likening their unprecedented clean sweep of the spring's major prizes to the domination Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls enjoyed in their heyday.

Six NBA titles in the 1990s made the Bulls a household name – something the County Waterford-based De Bromhead and his go-to rider Rachael Blackmore have also become.

They teamed up to magnificent effect again on Saturday, winning the Grand National at Aintree with Minella Times, who provided the stable with another big-race triumph after the Blackmore-ridden Honeysuckle romped away with the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, where the trainer also captured the Champion Chase (Put The Kettle On) and Cheltenham Gold Cup (Minella Indo).

Skelton, among Britain's top jumps trainers, had nothing but praise for his counterpart.

"Sport is cyclical and there was a time nobody could beat the Chicago Bulls, there was a time nobody could beat Manchester United and there was a time Paul Nicholls had all the best horses, and then Nicky Henderson and then Willie Mullins," he said.

"Sport has a weird habit, at times, of creating this unbeatable force and Henry and his team are right in the middle of that at the moment, and it's magic for them.

"Everybody in the industry works hard and hats off to them. They've prepared beautifully and their horses look outstanding, while Rachael and the other jockeys are riding at the top of their game.

"They just don't miss. They're a phenomenally professional outfit, so fair play to them, you've got to say 'Well done'."

Skelton, himself enjoying a fine campaign and fiercely ambitious, does not anticipate De Bromhead easing off the gas.

"It's about winning the big races and championships and that team is making it look easier than anyone and by some distance at the moment," he added.

"The hard thing, as time shows, is staying there and Henry will be as determined this morning as he was at the start of the season; that this has to continue.

"You don't just get there, bask in the sunshine and disappear, you want to get even better and get more horses and that's what makes the champions so hard to beat – they never rest on their laurels."

A former Paul Nicholls assistant, Skelton, who took out his training licence in 2013, was around when the Ditcheat yard housed galacticos Kauto Star, Denman, Master Minded and Big Buck's.

"Having all those good horses in a yard definitely brings a level up, but you also hit a purple patch with your owners and you start making all the right decisions, and with those right decisions come more investment and that brings more confidence," he explained.

"It snowballs, but it's not one important ingredient; it's five, six, ten things that come together and if you're making the right decisions on the racecourse, you've got the confidence when buying the horses etc.

"You can to say to an owner, for instance, 'You've just had a Grade 1 winner there, we've a lovely young horse of yours at home, give it time. Don't be running it this year, leave it and this horse might do what the other one has just done'."

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