With Epsom the main focus this week Andy Newton looks at which trainers are heading to the Surrey track in form.
SIR MARK PRESCOTT (3 winners from his last 5 runners, 60% strike-rate): We all know that when this yard starts to fire – THEY FIRE! And with three wins from their last 5 sent to post I think it’s safe to say this racing knight is readying his string for a good June. They sent one all the way up to Carlisle on Monday night from their Newmarket base and those that took note were rewarded with an easy 10/11 winner – while earlier in the afternoon at Kempton they fired in a 7/2 winner. Luke Morris has been on 2 of their last 5 runners, including that one up at Carlisle, so keep an eye on that in the coming weeks, but the fact they’ve only had 9 runners all season, and 5 of them (3 winners) have finished third, or better suggests anything they do run at present should require a second glance. Every season since 1989 they’ve sent out 40+ winners, with 77 (1999) their best ever, while last term they managed 54. However, they’ve also maintained an incredible 19% or higher strike-rate in all of their campaigns since 1996 and you can expect more of the same from one of the best racing brains in the business. We also all know that the yard often like to run up quick sequences with their in-form horses and with their Monday winners, Liber and Athenian, holding multiple entries over the coming days, then should they run again quickly this is another tip in itself.
Upcoming Entries and Track Stats: Ayr (5 from 12, 42%), Epsom (9 from 19, 47%), Brighton (8 from 27, 30%), Newcastle (2 from 14, 14%), Pontefract (3 from 13, 23%), Musselburgh (1 from 8, 13%), Beverley (3 from 18, 17%), Catterick (7 from 32, 22%), Haydock (5 from 27, 19%)
WILLIAM HAGGAS (11 winners from his last 31 runners, 35% strike-rate): A massive few days ahead for the Haggas team, especially in Friday’s Oaks as they look to follow up their win in the race 12 months ago – this time with Vow. She landed the Lingfield trial in eye-catching fashion, despite looking a bit green in the closing stages, but jockey, Johnny Murtagh, has since said he’s sure it was more to do with the crowd and the big screen rather than greenness – we’ll see on Friday, but I suspect there will be a bigger crowd and a bigger screen at Epsom on Friday! All-in-all she’s got a fantastic chance and the Highclere operation, who own her, could have a cracking weekend if their well-fancied Bonfire (trained by Andrew Balding) takes the Derby too. They’ve also got Beaten Up heading to the Coronation Cup on Saturday and a whole host of others to look out for. One thing’s for sure the yard could not be heading to the Downs in better form and being no strangers to taking on the likes of Ballydoyle in the past I’d be surprised if they can’t bag at least one winner over the two days. They are now on 23 for the season and actually three of their last 4 runners have all won. They’ve got 86 (2008) as their best-ever to beat (if they have that as a target), and have also broken the £1million total prize money barrier in all of the past 4 campaigns. 16 of their 23 winners have been with their 3 year-olds (good news for Vow fans), but they are also 1-from-2 with their 2 year-olds this season.
Upcoming Entries and Track Stats: Sandown (15 from 57, 26%), Epsom (3 from 24, 13%), Newcastle (7 from 19, 37%), Pontefract (5 from 31, 16%), Haydock (13 from 42, 31%), Nottingham (6 from 49, 12%), Redcar (4 from 21, 19%), Chepstow (5 from 8, 63%)
MAHMOOD AL ZAROONI (7 winners from his last 23 runners, 30% strike-rate): Operating at a better strike-rate than Bin Suroor at present, but there are clear signs that both outfits have their horses in tip-top order – just in time for Epsom this week and Royal Ascot later in the month. With Kailani in the Oaks and this year’s Dubai World Cup winner Monterosso in the Coronation Cup they also seem to hold a better hand in the top races than the other Godolphin yard. Frankie rode a winner for them up at Leicester on Monday, but he’s only ridden 8 of their last 22 runners, with Mickael Barzalona (rides their Oaks runner), who rode a Lingfield treble earlier in the week, and Silvestre De Sousa getting the bulk of the rides for Al Zarooni at the moment. Of their 11 winners so far 8 have been with their 3 year-olds, but they are also 3-from-6 with their 2 year-olds too. They will have last season’s tally of 81 winners as a firm target, but it is worth pointing out that, in contrast to Bin Suroor, they are still looking for their first Epsom winner – currently 0-from-11 at the Surrey track.
Upcoming Entries and Track Stats: Brighton (4 from 13, 31%), Newcastle (4 from 21, 19%), Sandown (5 from 31%), Epsom (0 from 11), Haydock (3 from 28)
BILL TURNER (4 winners from his last 15 runners, 27% strike-rate): Got a mention last week, and yet to have a winner since, but they’ve only had a handfull of runners, and looking at their entries they do have plenty of runners on the horizon – I’d be amazed if they can’t add some more to the win pot in the coming days. Young Jake Payne and Ryan While (Turner’s grandson) are being used a lot, and with their claims, especially with the 2 year-olds, this can make a huge difference. So far 12 of their 16 winners this season have been with their juveniles, and they are also showing a +£43 level stakes profit in that area too. They need just 8 more successes to equal their best-ever season total of 24, plus keep an eye out for any NH runners too – they currently have two engaged up at Uttoxeter on Sunday.
Upcoming Entries and Track Stats: Beverley (0 from 5), Brighton (2 from 30, 7%), Uttoxeter (2 from 12, 17%).
SAEED BIN SUROOR (4 winners from his last 15 runners, 27% strike-rate): Another that’s been a tad in-and-out of late but after recent winners at York, Leicester and Lingfield in the last week there are certain signs that the original boy in blue trainer is about to have a good spell. Frankie has also been on all three of those winners and with 11 successes for the yard so far they are now neck-and-neck with the Al Zarooni stable. They’ve both also had around the same amount of runners and after the new kid on the block fired in 81 winners, compared to Bin Suroor’s 58 last term, you sense that things might be a bit closer this time. That said, at Epsom this week it’s certainly Al Zarooni that looks to have the better chances, but Bin Suroor does still boast an impressive 32% strike-rate on the Downs and is sure to pick up a race or two over the two-day meeting – keep a special look for any 4+year-olds as they are currently 8 from 19 in that age bracket at the track.
Upcoming Entries and Track Stats: Brighton (3 from 10, 30%), Epsom (13 from 41, 32%), Newcastle (3 from 22, 14%), Pontefract (11 from 34, 32%), Haydock (6 from 46, 13%)
DAVID LANIGAN (2 winners from his last 9 runners, 22% strike-rate): All eyes will be their unbeaten Main Sequence in Saturday’s Derby. He travelled so well and showed an excellent turn of foot to land the Lingfield trial a few weeks ago and, for me, there have been worse 10/1 shots for the Derby. Yes, he needs to improve again, but he shaped as if the 1m4f trip will be well within his range and if he’s still in the mix with a few to run then his proven gear change could be a huge asset. Ted Durcan, who will ride him on Saturday, is also no stranger to the big occasion, having already landed an Oaks around Epsom, while the yard will head to the Downs in cracking form with three winners from their last 10 runners. Based in Lambourn Sir Henry Cecil’s former assistant has developed his yard into one of the most up-and-coming in the land are also no strangers to the Epsom meeting, having saddled Meeznah to run, albeit a now disqualified second, in the 2010 Oaks. This recent purple patch puts them on 7 for the season, with 25 their best yet in 2010, but it’s also worth pointing out that they do best with their 3 year-olds – 43 from 227 in the last 5 years – and this is further backed up this season with all 7 of their successes coming in that age bracket.
Upcoming Entries and Track Stats: Epsom (1 from 6, 17%), Newcastle (0 from 2), Pontefract (1 from 9), Haydock (1 from 9), Nottingham (1 from 23, 4%)
AIDAN O’BRIEN (6 winners from his lat 41 runners, 15% strike-rate): Okay, so it’s normally the trainers that are operating around the 25-60% mark that figure here, but with the Epsom Oaks and Derby this week, and the fact Aidan O’Brien will be mob-handed in both, I thought it would be useful to see how their horses have been fairing of late. Yes, they took the Irish 2,000 Guineas and So You Think went in at short odds last weekend too, but they also had their well-fancied 1,000 Guineas favourite, Homecoming Queen, turned over and with just 6 victories from their last 41 runners those wanting to take on the likes of Camelot (current Derby favourite) this week might have something to cling to. Putting the stable form to one side for a minute in terms of Camelot, yes, he’s entitled to be a warm order based on his Guineas win and with his breeding suggesting he could be even better now stepped up in trip. However, I’m always wary of horses handling the tricky Epsom track and although no disrespect intended I’d also be worried that young Joseph O’Brien has got limited experience around this unique course. On all current form he should win, but the likely odds of around 4/5 are poor value to say the least, while – did you know that Aidan is currently 0-from-33 with his 3 year-olds at the Surrey venue? If you are a supporter of his fancied runners this week, then, I guess, on more positive note you’ll be pleased to hear the yard are 6-from-16 (38%) with their UK raiders so far this term after successful times at Chester and Newmarket earlier in the season.
Upcoming Entries and Track Stats: Clonmel (0 from 2), Epsom (3 from 40, 8%)
This Week’s Hot NH Trainers…………………
JAMIE SNOWDEN (4 winners from his last 7 runners, 57% strike-rate): Based in Lambourn this former jockey has only been training since 2008, but last season they managed 19 wins and with 4 already on the board this term they are well on their way to getting close to that again. What was also impressive about their figures from last season was that 66 of their 120 runners (55%) managed to run fourth or better, and with 6 of their 10 runners this term hitting third or better then it looks like its business as usual at the Snowden camp. The once very useful Marodima made all to win down at Newton Abbot on Wednesday to make it 3 winners from their last 4, and if allowed to dictate from the front again around a tight track should be followed. With a pretty even spilt between their chasers and hurdlers in terms of winners there is nothing to report there, but do look out when they book jockey Tom O’Brien – he’s notched 3 winners from his last 4 rides for the yard (Brendan Powell rode their other winner this season). Looking ahead they got recent winner Ixora entered at Uttoxeter on Sunday – a track they are currently 3 from 6 (50%) at with their chasers.
Upcoming Entries and Track Stats: Fontwell (6 from 54, 11%), Uttoxeter (4 from 15, 27%), Towcester (3 from 17, 18%)
JONJO O’NEILL (10 winners from his last 28 runners, 36% strike-rate): With AP McCoy in red-hot form too then I’m not sure who’s carrying who at the moment – but it looks as if the O’Neill camp are doing the champ proud at present and putting plenty of winners his way. That’s an incredible 26 already for McCoy, including a Huntingdon treble on Tuesday night – a tally most jockeys would be happy with for the whole season. Back to O’Neill and they are on 14 winners for the new season, with 64% of their 51 runners finishing fourth or better and with their horses in the form they are then these figures look set to continue. Despite their good run there is one thing you can’t do with the O’Neill horses, and it might sound obvious – and that’s back them blind. They’ve shown a level stakes loss of well over £100 in 8 of the last 9 seasons. Looking ahead over the coming days they’ve got plenty engaged at Ffos Las, Wetherby and Fontwell – all tracks they’ve got 20%+ records at.
Upcoming Entries and Track Stats: Ffos Las (24 from 111, 22%), Wetherby (10 from 38, 26%), Haydock (4 from 53, 8%), Fontwell (17 from 80, 21%), Uttoxeter (27 from 224, 12%), Towcester (22 from 109, 20%)
DAVID PIPE (5 winners from his last 19 runners, 26% strike-rate): It’s not like the old days when the big NH yards packed up shop in these spring and summer months and despite the drying ground the top jumping yards are still sending out plenty of winners. Okay, so most of their stable stars are on their holidays, and they drew a blank on with their 4 runners on Wednesday, but they still have a decent set of summer jumpers to go to war with and with plenty of meetings over the coming months you can expect them to keep churning out the winners. It’s no surprise that Tom Scudamore has been on all-bar-one of their recent winners and with 29 of their 44 runners (66%) finishing fourth or better this further backs up the form of the yard. Five of their 8 winners this season have been over hurdles, but also keep an eye on any flat runners – especially with Royal Ascot looming – they should have a few laid out for the longer distance races, like the Queens Vase, at the Berkshire track.
Upcoming Entries and Track Stats: Sedgefield (3 from 12, 25%), Newton Abbot (33 from 213, 15%), Ffos Las (10 from 69, 14%), Stratford (12 from 63, 19%), Uttoxeter (27 from 129, 21%), Fontwell (15 from 85, 18%), Nottingham (0 from 1)
Click on a trainer’s name to see all their up-coming entries