With the 3-day Chester May Meeting this week Andy Newton highlights four trainers to look out for, plus two that might be best avoided.....
DONALD McCAIN (Chester: 3 winners from his last 5 runners, 60% strike-rate): This powerful NH yard are no strangers to sending the odd runner to one of their more local tracks and having landed the last two runnings of the Chester Cup (Weds), then anything they run in the meetings feature race should be noted. Ok, so they’ve not had many other runners, but that’s because they really only have the horses to target the longer distance races. Of their 3 winners they are yielding a +£16 level stakes profit, while at the time of writing they’ve got last year’s Chester Cup winner, Il De Re, trying to defend his crown - with previous winners having a good recent record in the race then he’ll be popular in the betting, while they also have Thimaar entered in that race.
AIDAN O’BRIEN (Chester: 9 winners from his last 20 runners, 45% strike-rate): The powerful Ballydoyle yard love to send runners across to this week’s Chester May Meeting and this year looks no different with a select team entered at this stage. You can rest assured that they will only send over ones that they think will be suited by the tight turns and are in good form at home. With 16 winners from just 49 runners in their homeland already then they are also in decent shape, but what might surprise a few is that the last time they broke 100 winners in a season in Ireland was way back in 1999!. They’ve not had any 2 year-old runners at Chester in the last 5 years, but are 6-from-14 with their 3 year-olds and 3-from-6 with their older horses at the course – they are also boasting a very decent +£34 level stakes profit in the last 5 seasons on the Roodee.
WILLIAM HAGGAS (Chester: 10 winners from his last 29 runners, 34% strike-rate): There are not many yards heading into this week’s Chester May Meeting in better form as the Haggas camp have sent out 8 winners from their last 25 runners, while 11 of their last 15 runners have finished fourth or better. Their overall Chester record is impressive (34%), but with 5 of their last 7 juvenile winners winning at the track (71%) then pay special attention to any youngsters they run this week. They are also 5-from-8 with their 3 year-old, so keep these onside too, and are currently showing a +£6 level stakes profit at the course in the last 5 seasons.
MARCO BOTTI (Chester: 3 winners from his last 9 runners, 33% strike-rate): Ticking along nicely with 27 winners already this year and if their recent track record at Chester is anything to go by then we can expect a bold showing on the Roodee this week. They’ve not had bundles of runners at the tight course, but with a 33% strike-rate and a +£5 level stakes profit then it’s clear the ones they do send there are ready to roll. They are 1-from-2 with their juveniles at the track, and looking at their entries this week they’ve got plenty engaged at this stage.
CHARLES HILLS (1 winner from his last 18 runners, 6% strike-rate): It’s no secret that Charles’ father Barry used to love training winners at Chester and in particular the May Meeting, but since responsibilities have been passed down things have not been so great at the track. With just 1 winner from their last 18 runners then you might want to think twice before piling in, especially as a lot will be said about the past Hills record at the course and potentially shorten a few horses. Their Just The Judge was a close second in the 1,000 Guineas on Sunday, so their horses are in decent nick and their last 6 have all finished fourth or better. If there is some potential encouragement it’s that their sole Chester winner came with a 2 year-old and they’ve only had 4 juvenile runners at the course in the last few seasons.
DAVID NICHOLLS (3 winners from his last 75 runners, 4% strike-rate): A bit like the Hills camp there is a bit of a perception that the ‘Sprint King’ Dandy Nicholls does well here at the track. With horses drawn low over the sprint trips then again it no secret these will be popular in the betting, while it there is a positive it’s that the yard are 2-from-5 with their juvenile runners at Chester. In contrast they are 0-from-10 with their 3 year-olds and an even worse 1-from-60 with their older horses at the track. Away from Chester, on a plus, they have had 19 winners this term and considering they had 50 in the whole of 2012 then things are ticking along nicely.
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