Itâ€™s that time of the week again as Andy Newton highlights which trainers have been hitting the high notes, while heâ€™s also got a big name handler whose runners might be best avoided at present.
CHARLIE LONGSDON (4 winners from his last 6 runners, 67% strike-rate): The recent NH break in the season seems to have done the Charlie Longsdon horses the world of good after a huge 543/1 treble at Newton Abbot on Tuesday. They actually had a winner back on the 7th Sept so the shrewdies out there might have cottoned onto that before those Tuesday triumphs and with 14 winners from just 45 runners so far they are currently operating at a rate of 31%. Looking back since they started in 2006/07 (5 full seasons) itâ€™s interesting that in all-bar-one of those campaigns have ended with a positive level stakes profit suggesting that they often bowl in a few at decent prices. I predict big things for this rapidly improving yard this season and in Felix De Giles they also have a jockey heading in the right direction â€“ incidentally heâ€™s ridden 3 of those recent 4 winners. Hereâ€™s where you can expect to see their runners in the coming days â€“ Worcester (29% chasers, 0% hurdlers) and Market Rasen (27% chasers, 14% hurdlers).
DAVID LANIGAN (3 winners from his last 8 runners, 38% strike-rate): Park Hill Stakes winner Meeznah has made the Lanigan team more of a household name this season, and they really could be a yard to follow over the next few years as more and more high-profile owners take note of their talents. Since that Doncaster win a few weeks ago the stable have only had a handful of runners but with two more winners, including a monster 50/1 success at Yarmouth last Thursday, then anyone following them will be more than quidâ€™s in. Yes, theyâ€™ve only had 11 winners this season, but mainly due to Meeznah theyâ€™ve already amassed more win prize money this term than any of their previous three years and are also currently boasting a +Â£24 level stakes profit with this seasonâ€™s runners. Hereâ€™s what they have on the horizon â€“ Newmarket (1 from 18, 6%), Wolverhampton (5 from 26, 19%), Haydock (1 from 8, 13%) and Musselburgh (no previous runners).
ALAN BAILEY (4 winners from his last 12 runners, 33% strike-rate): This is the first time the Bailey team have made it onto the hot list with 4 recent winners from just 12 runners, and not being one of the more fashionable yards then there could be a chance of finding a big-priced winner or two in the coming weeks. Their horses are clearly in cracking order and with 7/1 and 10/1 winners in that batch of 4 winners then the rewards have been there. Jockeys Richard Mullen (2 wins) and Darryll Holland (1 win) are used for most of their runners, and despite being based in Newmarket they are not afraid to send their horses all around the country with runners recently at Chester and Ayr. Not many may know that the yard have been on the go since 1988, but with 36 winners already this season no matter what happens now this will be their best-ever campaign â€“ a great achievement! Barbican has been their big money-spinner this season, winning a valuable handicap at Ascot earlier this month, and being only 3 years-old the best could be yet to come. Theyâ€™ve already banked Â£295,000 in total prize money (another record), while if youâ€™d backed all their runners (211) this season for Â£1 then youâ€™d be sitting on a tidy Â£161! Newmarket (3 from 34, 9%), Chester (9 from 59, 15%) and Wolverhampton (23 from 164, 14%).
GEORGE BAKER (5 winners from his last 18 runners, 28% strike-rate): Another 7/2 winner at Leicester on Monday and a 4/9 success at Folkestone on Tuesday keeps the Baker team on the hot list this week and those victories mean they are now only 3 winners away from equalling last seasonâ€™s total (40) and 4 away from making this their best ever campaign since they began in 2008. They did have a 2 year-old winner last week at Sandown and on Tuesday (same horse – Billyrayvalentine), but that was only their fourth juvenile success this term from 40 runners, with the bulk of their winners (22) coming from their 4+ year-olds. They tend to use a variety of jockeys but make a note if they book the services of a certain Mr. Dettori â€“ Frankie is 3-from-3 when riding for the yard in recent weeks. Nothing heading to Newmarket until maybe Saturday, but they do have plenty engaged at Wolverhampton. Five year track stats â€“ Wolverhampton (29 from 164, 18%), Haydock (0 from 3), Chester (0 from 4) and Newmarket (0 from 5).
WILLIAM MUIR (7 winners from his last 26 runners, 27% strike-rate): I highlighted the Muir team as a yard to keep an eye on last week and they certainly didnâ€™t let us down. A 25/1 double at Wolverhampton on Saturday night was followed by a monster 20/1 success at Leicester on Monday. They still need 23 winners to equal last seasonâ€™s total of 67, which looks a tall order, but, that said, with their horses clearly in good heart you can expect them to fire in some more winners over the closing weeks and after all they did have over 700 runners last term (currently only had 428). They do tend to farm most of their winners on the all weather these days, and are currently operating at an 18% strike-rate on the sand surfaces. Looking ahead to their entries here are their track stats â€“ Newmarket (2 from 45, 4%), Wolverhampton (25 from 188, 13%) and Haydock (3 from 37, 8%).
MAHMOOD AL ZAROONI (12 winners from his last 46 runners, 26% strike-rate): The rumours are that the competition between the two Godolphin yards is extremely high, but as we head into the closing few months of the flat season itâ€™s the new boys on the block that are ending on more of a high. 12 winners from their last 46 runners, including a 57/1 treble at Goodwood on Wednesday means itâ€™s already been a great week for the boys in blue. Frankie was on one of theirs at Kempton on Monday afternoon and it goes without saying anything the pocket Italian makes the effort to ride will be expected to go in. Of course, this is no secret to the bookmakers and the prices tend to reflect this, but two of his recent winners for the yard have returned 9/2 and 4/1 â€“ and, to me, thatâ€™s actually not too bad! That said, Frankie was only on 1 of their 3 winners at Goodwood on Wednesday, so I certainly wouldnâ€™t put you off if Ted Durcan, Antioco Murgia or Ahmed Ajtebi are getting the leg-up. Theyâ€™ve already smashed last seasonâ€™s win tally of 43 wins with 58 successes this term, while theyâ€™ve almost banked Â£1million more in total prize money â€“ mainly thanks to Blue Bunting â€“ and, finally, if youâ€™d stuck just Â£1 on all their runners this season youâ€™d be sitting on a cool +Â£106. Newmarket (11 from 35, 31%), Pontefract (1 from 12, 8%), Wolverhampton (2 from 20, 10%), Haydock (1 from 19, 5%), Ripon (0 from 7) and Chester (2 from 4, 50%).
ROGER VARIAN (5 winners from his last 23 runners, 22% strike-rate): The flag will be flying at half-mast at the Kremlin House yard after the sad passing of legendary trainer Michael Jarvis, but his protÃ©gÃ©, Roger Varian, will be hoping to do his old boss proud with the foundations heâ€™s inherited. Okay, so he only bagged one winner (5/2) since he also got a mention last week, but all-bar-one of his last nine runners have finished fifth or better suggesting that as we head into this weekendâ€™s Newmarket Cambridgeshire meeting then they will stable to keep on the right side of. At the time of writing they are sitting on 43 winners for the season, but thatâ€™s only come from 196 runners so that means they are firing in successes at a rate of around 22%, while if youâ€™d have backed all their runners this season for Â£1 then you be sitting on a very healthy +Â£37 – not bad, hey! Expect to see plenty heading to HQ over the next few days, but they also have engagements here: Pontefract (0 from 3), Haydock (6 from 20, 30%), Newmarket (0 from 4), Wolverhampton (1 from 2, 50%), Ripon (1 from 3, 33%) and Chester (0 from 4).
MARK JOHNSTON (16 winners from his last 83 runners, 19% strike-rate): Okay, 141 winners this season so far is certainly nothing to be sniffed at but compare that to 211 winners in 2010 and 216 in 2009 then I think itâ€™s fair to say the â€˜Always Trying Yardâ€™ are only having an average season. This is further backed up when you look at their prize money with Â£762,000 in win funds they will do well to break the Â£1million barrier â€“ something theyâ€™ve done every season comfortably since 2000. You could argue that theyâ€™ve simply just not had that good a batch of 2 and 3 year-olds this season and with that in mind then they could be facing a similar season in 2012 until this yearâ€™s crop of yearlings come to the fore in 2013. Anyway, enough of all that doom and gloom as itâ€™s not exactly crisis time and with 16 recent winners then the yard are doing their level best to end the season on a high. A bit like the Hannon team they have so many runners around the country most days that it does take a certain amount of time to filter through their entries, but when Silvestre De Sousa is booked then this has proven profitable recently. The pocket Brazilian is 3 winners from his last 6 rides for the yard, and although stable number one Joe Fanning is back now from injury we can expect them to still use De Sousa on a lot of their fancied ones â€“ 2 of their last 3 to go off favourite were ridden by him! Finally, it could be significant that at this stage they have a few entries heading to Dundalk (Ire) on Friday night â€“ a track they currently have a 32% strike-rate at! Entries: Pontefract (21 from 179, 12%), Wolverhampton (87 from 400, 22%), Newmarket (21 from 194, 11%), Haydock (20 from 215, 9%), Dundalk (6 from 19, 32%) Ripon (15 from 159, 9%) and Chester (27 from 159, 17%).
JAMIE OSBORNE (3 winners from last 16 runners, 19% strike-rate): Yes, three recent winners might not exactly get the pulses racing, but with two of them priced 11/1 and 28/1 then Iâ€™m guessing that will make you stand up and take notice. The former jump jockey has not exactly had a season to shout about with just 18 winners to date and prize money thatâ€™s around Â£120,000 down on last season, but they might argue theyâ€™ve been a tad unlucky with plenty of place finishers â€“ in fact from their 194 runners this season 55% of them have finished fourth or better! Entries â€“ Wolverhampton (28 from 243, 12%), Newmarket (1 from 19, 5%), Haydock (1 from 15, 7%) and Chester (3 from 18, 17%).
This Weekâ€™s Cold Trainer………
MICHAEL EASTERBY (16 days and 33 runners without a winner): Itâ€™s only been a couple of weeks with a winner for the trainer of Hoof It, but with 33 runners during that time then a tiny word of caution is advised. Drilling deeper into their recent runners youâ€™ll see that only 6 of their last 32 runners actually hit the frame â€“ which sounds those alarm bells a tiny bit louder. Despite this current lull itâ€™s worth pointing out that they only need around Â£13,000 in total prize money to make this their best-ever season in terms on cash won and with Hoof It in the ranks then I fully expect them to smash that 2007 tally. Other things to note when looking at their past year stats is that since 1988 EVERY season has been a level stake loss, while their wins-to-runs strike-rate has been less than 10% in 21 of those 24 seasons!
*Note* – Click on a trainers name for all their future entries