Andy Newton highlights 8 flat trainers that are starting the new season on the front foot………..
SYLVESTER KIRK (4 winners from his last 9 runners, 44% strike-rate): Based in Berkshire the Kirk team are certainly a yard to keep on the right side of at present, especially after their 16/1 success at Wolverhampton on Tuesday. That makes it 11 already for the season, while they are also sitting on a cool +£66 level stakes profit this term. They had their worst campaign last year since 2002 with just 25 successes, but with this good earlier start they will be gunning to better the 50 winners they managed back in 2008. They tend to do better with their 3 year-olds with 89 winners from 743 runners over the last 5 seasons, while in that same period they’ve had 87 AW successes, compared to 68 on the green stuff. With that in mind pay particular attention to their runners at Southwell – of the 4 AW tracks they have by far the best record there (13 from 56, 23%). Looking at their turf stats it could pay to look out for any 4+ year-olds they run at Lingfield (3 from 7), while at Warwick they are currently 3 from 5 with their 3 year-olds
Upcoming Entries and Track Stats: Sandown (2 from 29, 7%), Leicester (1 from 29, 3%), Haydock (0 from 5), Windsor (4 from 77, 5%), Kempton AW (28 from 291, 10%)
ROGER VARIAN (4 winners from his last 11 runners, 36% strike-rate): Since taking over from the late Michael Jarvis last year the Varian team have fired in an impressive 62 winners, and the way things have started this season things could get even better. They are already 9 from just 24 sent to post (38%) and after ending last term on a +£56 level stakes profit they have carried that trend into 2012 – they are currently +£20. Stable jockey Neil Callan will, of course, get the bulk of the rides, but Andrea Atzeni was on a recent winner at Wolverhampton too, while with a few Maktoum horses in their care then you can also expect to see champion jockey, Paul Hanagan, riding too. Of their 53 winners in 2011 a massive 40 came with their 3 year-olds, but they did have 13 juvenile successes too, and with those horses now 3 years-old then it looks as if it’s going to be more of the same of the Varian team. Some standout track stats to take into the new season are – Juveniles: They are 2-from-2 at Haydock and 2-from-3 at Salisbury. 3yo: They are 3-from-4 at Doncaster, 5-from-16 at Haydock and 3-from-7 at Yarmouth.
Upcoming Entries and Track Stats: Doncaster (5 from 11, 45%), Sandown (2 from 14, 14%), Leicester (2 from 10, 20%), Ripon (1 from 3, 33%), Windsor (2 from 12, 17%), Kempton AW (0 from 19)
AIDAN O’BRIEN (9 winners from his last 27 runners, 33% strike-rate): The Ballydoyle camp have had a slow start to the new season with a very quiet March and early April but it looks as if this powerhouse yard are starting to hit top gear, and with the Guineas Meeting just around the corner it’s no surprise. The fired in a treble at The Curragh on Sunday, but the signs were there the week before with doubles at Dundalk and Leopardstown too. Son, Joseph, is their main man doing the riding now and he could be set for another huge season to follow up his Breeders’ Cup win that really catapulted him onto the world scene. They hold leading chances in both the Guineas with Maybe (1000) and Camelot (2000), so victories in the first two English Classics looks strong possibilities and should they achieve that it will give them an excellent foothold to making this another memorable season. Too many entries to note across both Ireland the UK at the moment, but here are some standout stats from the tracks on this side of the Irish Sea – Juveniles: They are 4-from-16 at Doncaster and 5-from-31 at Newmarket, 3yo: 5-from-15 at Chester, 4yo+: 3-from-5 at Chester, 3-from-7 at Epsom, 2-from-4 at Sandown and 2-from-5 at Newmarket (July)
Upcoming Entries and UK Track Stats: Sandown (2 from 10, 20%), Newmarket (7 from 68, 10%)
DAVID BARRON (3 winners from his last 11 runners, 27% strike-rate): No winners so far this week, but having fired in 20/1 and 14/1 winners last week that doesn’t really matter. Most of their runners are run over trips from 5f to a mile, while looking over the last 5 seasons it’s no surprise that they’ve had more successes with their 4+year-olds – with 8 of their 9 successes coming with their older horses this season so far then that trend looks like continuing. They have been one of the most consistent yards over the last few decades, bagging 40+ winners in all of the last 12 seasons – with 76 their best-ever tally in 2006. Add in that in 4 of the last 6 seasons they’ve ended with a positive level stakes profit for all their runners then some of their winners can still go off at decent prices. Look out for the following- 2yo: 8-from-20 at Southwell AW, 3yo: 3-from-6 at Leciester, 6-from-21 at Ripon, 4yo+: 9-from-28 at Lingfield AW.
Upcoming Entries and UK Track Stats: Beverley (6 from 56, 11%), Wolverhampton AW (29 from 134, 22%), Doncaster (6 from 63, 10%), Leicester (4 from 10, 40%), Haydock (9 from 59, 15%)
WILLIAM HAGGAS (4 winners from his last 16 runners, 25% strike-rate): Mr Steady Eddie over the last 10 seasons or so with 40+ winners in each of those, while last term they notched their best-ever tally with 76. 5 winners so far from just 23 sent to post suggest they are another yard that have prepared their horses well for the start of the new flat campaign, plus 16 of those 23 runners have managed fourth or better. They have broken the £1million barrier in all of the last 4 seasons, last year mainly down to their classy filly Dancing Rain, so the pressure will be on to repeat that feat. They like to use Johnny Murtagh when they can, but Liam Jones’ recent rides read 4-2-1-1 and, therefore, anything he rides should be noted too. Looking back at the last 5 seasons then it could pay to look out for their 3 year-olds as this age has been responsible for more of their winner, while here are some track stats to look out for over the coming months – 2yo: 2-from-5 at Catterick, 4-from-6 at Chester, 2-from-5 at Salisbury, 2-from-3 at Southwell AW, 2-from-4 at Haydock, 3yo: 5-from-11 at Brighton, 5-from-6 at Chepstow, 5-from-12 at Folkestone, 3-from-6 at Hamilton, 4-from-10 at Newcastle, 7-from-19 at Ripon, 7-from-20 at Southwell AW, 4yo+: 2-from-3 at Hamilton, 2-from-5 at Redcar.
Upcoming Entries and UK Track Stats: Beverley (5 from 15, 33%), Leicester (3 from 30, 10%), Ripon (8 from 27, 30%), Haydock (13 from 38, 34%), Kempton AW (20 from 120, 17%), Windsor (8 from 38, 21%)
MRS K BURKE (3 winners from her last 12 runners, 25% strike-rate): Another 12/1 winner on Tuesday to add to their 14/1 and monster 50/1 successes last week mean that supporters of the Burke yard are certainly quids-in at the moment. 3lbs claimer Michael Metcalfe is getting plenty of chances for the yard and he’s one to look out for when booked, while with 9 of their last 12 runners finishing fourth or better this further highlights the wellbeing of the stable. Those wins put them on 8 for 2012 now, plus that 50/1 triumph means they are now showing a +£60 level stakes profit too. They will have the 38 winners they managed last season as a firm target, and with 12 juvenile wins in 2012 they once we start seeing a few more 2 year-olds in action is could pay keep a look out in that sphere – in fact in 2011 of their 67 juvenile runners 35 (52%) finished third or better.
Upcoming Entries and UK Track Stats: Leicester (1 from 6, 17%), Ripon (3 from 14, 21%), Doncaster (3 from 21, 14%), Haydock (6 from 33, 18%), Kempton AW (2 from 16, 13%), Wolverhampton AW (5 from 47, 11%)
MARK JOHNSTON (10 winners from his last 42 runners, 24% strike-rate): After landing another AW trainers’ title then the yard are already sitting on a huge 64 winners for the season – a tally most yards would be happy of gaining for the entire year. They sent out three more AW winners on Tuesday from just 4 runners and 11 winners on the turf so far too then things are starting to hot up on that front as well. Despite this good head start they still have some way to go to better their best-ever tally of 216 which they got in 2009, but many will feel that with their string arguably the best it’s ever been then that’s certainly within range. With 491 3 year-old winners over the last 5 seasons then they do by far the best with this aged horse, but being such a big yard then you have to pick and choose your moments when to back their horses as since 1988 they have only shown an end-of-season level stakes profit twice. There are too many decent track stats to list them all, but a few standouts are – 2yo: 15-from-44 at Beverley, Lingfield 2-from-5, 3yo: 6-from-18 at Brighton, 4yo+: Ffos Las 5-from-13, Warwick 3-from-7, Chepstow 3-from-4. Upcoming Entries and UK Track Stats: Beverley (45 from 178, 25%), Sandown (15 from 154, 10%), Doncaster (19 from 214, 9%), Leicester (26 from 117, 22%), Ripon (12 from 134, 9%, Haydock (15 from 186, 8%), Kempton AW (51 from 350, 15%), Windsor (5 from 40, 13%)
CLIVE COX (5 winners from his last 22 runners, 23% strike-rate): Yes, they’ve bagged five winners recently, but with 11 of their last 21 also finishing third or better then the Cox runners are ones to look out over the next week or so. Jockey’s Adam Kirby and John Fahy have got the leg-up on all bar two of their recent 21 runners, with Kirby riding 3 of those five winners and Fahy 2. Okay, so this good spell still only puts them on six winners for the season, but the new flat campaign has not really kicked into gear just yet and the fact they are sitting pretty with their horses clearly in good heart will mean that once the bigger meetings come around in a few weeks they are well placed. 2009 and 2011 have been their best years in terms of numbers with 52 winners, but here are some track starts for the coming season to bear in mind – 3yo: 4-from-13 at Folkestone, 4yo+: 2-from-4 at Ayr, 3-from-6 at Warwick.
Upcoming Entries and UK Track Stats: Sandown (9 from 83, 11%), Doncaster (6 from 56, 11%), Haydock (5 from 53, 9%), Kempton AW (29 from 178, 16%), Windsor (8 from 83, 10%), Wolverhampton AW (13 from 74, 18%)
This Week’s Cold Trainer………………………………….
WILLIAM JARVIS (132 days and 31 runners without a winner)
Click on a trainer’s name to see all their up-coming entries