Is it just me, dear reader, or does everybody really look forward to their holidays, only to be hankering for home before the last day?
So it was that I back-to-backed trips to the South of France and Krakow in Poland over the past week, with just a day back in London in between.
France was great: good company was provided by a couple of mates, Stumpy and Dan, and we had use of a big villa and ready access to the azure beaches there. I particularly liked the unpretentiousness of Port Grimaud, which is a very appealing spot and heartily recommended.
Then to Krakow with my girlfriend and five others. Perhaps it was the trip to Auschwitz and Birkenau, which just blows you away with the sheer scale of atrocities committed; perhaps it was the three (further) days drinking heavily; perhaps it was the rare old trek around the salt mines... whatever, I am glad to be back in Blighty.
And I'm glad to get back to the horses... even though this time of year is an especially tricky time for punters, what with it being transitory between the flat and jumping codes. In fact, personally, I've found it extremely hard going this summer trying to win on the flat. The weather of course has played its part, and only reliable draw biases have kept me close to break even point.
Thank the Lord then that the jumps season is about to commence in earnest! After the early overtures of September, where TTS launched with a winner on its debut runner, and followed up with a very tidy 12/1 payout (from just ten runners to date, five of which have been in the first three), we are now in a temporary hiatus before jumping becomes the daily staple and flat merely the hors d'oevres.
What better time then for me to introduce my six trainers to follow for the jumps season, and under which conditions? The drill is similar to TrainerTrackStats, except that these trainers are to be followed at all courses and not just the specific tracks mentioned in TTS. More of a TrainerStats then.
So, enough of the preamble, and on to the six who I will be paying especially close attention to, and I suggest you do too:
1. Alan King (3-6yo who finished 9th or worse, or failed to finish, last time out)
Where else to start but with my favourite jumps trainer. This man is a force to be reckoned with always, and the old adage about forgiving a horse one bad run is true here. His stats over the last three seasons are as follows:
Plenty of losers there might be, but nigh on £2,000 profit in three seasons for tenner level stakes is undeniably worth the barren spells! Look out for King's young nags after a seemingly poor effort.
2. David Pipe (when he has only one runner at the meeting)
It's hardly surprising that the name David Pipe is springing up on a more regular basis these days, as his old man was not called the 'Wizard of Wellington' for nothing. Pipe Jr. has learnt well, and he is effective when he sends a sole runner to a meeting:
A strike rate of over one in four and a small return on investment means that Pipe should keep the gravy dripping roughly once a week.
3. JonJo O'Neill (when the going is heavy or very soft)
JonJo's generally a man for all seasons, but his overall strike rate is flawed, despite the considerable assistance of Messrs' JP McManus and AP McCoy. However, with his mudlarks, JonJo remains the man to follow:
The reason for the lower number of runners last season is, I suspect, due to less meetings being run under testing conditions. If the current spate of sogginess (and the watermark on my ceiling!) is anything to go by, we'll have a few more of these to cheer home this season...
4. Nicky Henderson (3 and 4yo's, either first run or finished in the first six last time out)
No matter, for we must persist... Henderson is the master of juvenile precocity and, while that might be easy for me to say, it means one thing for you too - profit.
When this chap runs the kids, you need to take note:
Hitting the pay window almost one in three times is a cracking effort for this type of approach, so keep Hancock... erm, I mean Henderson... onside.
5. Nigel Twiston-Davies (finished 1st-7th last time out, having 8th or worse (or failed to finish) on 2nd last start).
It's difficult for me to comprehend that Mr Twist and Shout (as I like to call him) was actually contemplating jacking it all in a few seasons ago. Over the last two years of TTS, he has probably been responsible for more of my big tickets than any other trainer, even the magnificent Mr King. N T-D has peaks and troughs in the season, and is especially good between now and October, before a perennial lull until the new year. He stars with unreliable plodders, hence it's no surprise to see the conditions applied to his beasties for our purposes here. The results?
Just to clarify the qualifying rule: Last time out: finished 1st to 7th, 2 runs ago: finished 8th or worse, or failed to complete.
About a one in six strike rate means you're looking at losing runs again, but over £400 profit a year for the last two seasons to those level tenners means the bad times are habitually followed by good times. Bear that maxim in mind this season: it is the TTS motto ('After a good run, expect a bad run. After a bad run, expect a good run'). Our good runs will comfortably pay for our bad runs...
6. Victor Dartnall (3 to 7yo's)
Regular readers of Nag3 will know that I like to throw in a dark horse in these lists and, although Young Vic is not that dark a horse (more of a bay colt, I'd say), he's certainly not in the limelight as much as the preceding five.
But that doesn't mean you shouldn't pay close attention to him... or, to remove the double negative, that does mean you should pay close attention to him!
Although the season before last showed a deficit, the strike rate remained reasonably consistent, and on that score I'm happy to overlook what I perceive to have been a blip, and look forward to more Jam a la Dartnall this season.
So there you are. My six chaps to follow. In total, if you'd tracked these guys over the last three seasons with ten of her majesty's pounds on each, you'd have accrued a perfectly pleasing £5,191.10. For £50 stakes, that's a mouth-watering, gob-smacking TWENTY SIX GRAND!
Staying at tenners though, these fine men would have added £1,730.36 per year to your bottom line.
Treat them with respect!
I'll be back tomorrow with another system under the microscope...
p.s. If you haven't already, you need to add your name and email to the signup box at the top right to continue reading Geegeez posts. Soon enough, you'll not get notified automatically unless you're on the specific Geegeez list. Of course, if you're not interesting in my bluster, I'll say no more about it...!
p.p.s. My horse, Night Orbit, runs later at Yarmouth. Julia, the trainer, tells me he's very well, but then she always does... I'll be backing him, but then, I always do...!