See which trainers are heading into this weekend at the top of their game as Andy Newton picks out eight handlers that have caught his eye in recent days, while thereâ€™s a big NH yard that are now almost a month without a win..............
JEREMY SCOTT (7 winners from his last 9 runners, 77% strike-rate): Since I started this feature I canâ€™t recall a trainer ever hitting a current win percentage of 77%, so if you only take one thing out of this weekâ€™s list then itâ€™s to follow this yard. Â They fired in a well-backed winner at Exeter on Tuesday, which made it four wins from their last 4 runners! Jockey Tom Oâ€™Brien is 2-from-2 from recent rides, but they tend to use Nick Schofield the most â€“ heâ€™s ridden 4 of those 7 winners (Noel Fehily rode the other). It was their stable stalwart Gone To Lunch (entered at Wincanton on Saturday) who got this current winning run started a few weeks back and considering his life, let alone his racing career, looked touch and go not so long ago then this was a huge training performance. With 8 wins already this season theyâ€™ve gone some way towards bettering their 2010/11 tally of 14.
Up-coming entries and track stats: Wincanton, Ffos Las & Hereford
MRS K BURKE (4 winners from her last 13 runners, 31% strike-rate): Okay, the jumps season is the main focus at the moment, but there is also plenty of all weather action at this time of year and a trainer thatâ€™s doing well on the sand surfaces at present is Mrs K Burke. Sheâ€™s doesnâ€™t have the biggest string, but not being as well known as some of the other trainers then her runners can often go undetected to the layers. Theyâ€™ve fired in 31 winners on the green stuff this season, from just over 200 runners, which is not a bad effort at all. In terms of jockeyâ€™s they tend to use Martin Harley - heâ€™s been on 3 of those 4 recent winners - while although the bulk of their runners are on the flat they did have an entry over the sticks at Uttoxeter last month. Finally, itâ€™s interesting that theyâ€™ve got a few entered over at Dundalk this Friday night â€“ theyâ€™ve never had a runner at the Irish all weather track.
Up-coming entries and track stats: Wolverhampton (4 from 34, 12%) & Dundalk Â
VICTOR DARTNALL (3 winners from his last 10 runners, 30% strike-rate): I bet they couldnâ€™t believe their luck when both Menorah and Sam Winner took tumbles at Exeter on Tuesday to leave their Sammick Boy to come home on his own. That said, I think he was getting the better of Sam Winner at the time, and although he wouldnâ€™t have beaten Menorah if that one had stayed up it did further underline the form of the yard at the moment. That victory followed Exmoor Rangerâ€™s (12/1) gutsy win in a valuable chase at Ascot on Saturday and a 11/1 success at Chepstow the week before meaning from their last 10 runners they are showing a very healthy +Â£29 level stakes profit. True, this recent purple patch has only seen their winners reach 5 for the season, but they are a very selective stable and have maintained a 15%+ winning strike-rate for each of the past 6 seasons. Â
Up-coming entries and track stats: Fontwell (6 from 35, 17%), Wincanton (8 from 38, 21%), Sandown (3 from 19, 16%) & Herford (1 from 14, 7%).
PAUL NICHOLLS (12 winners from his last 48 runners, 25% strike-rate): They may have had a few disappointments at Exeter in the week, but they still fired one winner, albeit at 4/9, to keep their current strike-rate on the healthy side. Nicholls is currently around Evs to win another trainersâ€™ title, with Henderson not too far behind at 5/4, and with the flat jockeysâ€™ race set to end this weekend then this fascinating clash for the next 5 months can take over the baton. For me, itâ€™s a hard one to call, but Henderson was available around 7/4 a few weeks ago and despite starting the slower of the pair I just feel the potential in his squad looks slightly better. It was also great to see Kauto Star, Big Buckâ€™s and one of their potential stars of the future Mon Parrain in action after racing at the Devon track on Tuesday â€“ They all finished in a well planned three-way dead heat, but, for me, the way Big Buckâ€™s picked up the other two in the closing stages gave the impression he could have taken them at any time and was the eye catcher in my book. Last season they ended with 134 winners, and with 36 successes so far they are just under a third of the way into equalling that total already. Â So far this campaign they are showing a positive level stakes profit from their runners, but be warned as in all of the last nine seasons theyâ€™ve shown heavy level stakes losses â€“ not really surprising as most of their runners go off favourite, or odds on! Looking ahead the yard could have their first runners at Kelso on Saturday, while with 6 of their last 7 runners at Down Royal winning then keep an eye on anything they send over to Ireland this weekend.
Up-coming entries and track stats: Fontwell (30 from 89, 34%), Wincanton (47 from 187, 25%), Sandown (35 from 113, 31%), Kelso, Down Royal (6 from 7, 86%) & Ffos Las (3 from 16, 19%)
ALAN KING (5 winners from his last 22 runners, 23% strike-rate): Some might have been slightly surprised with Medermitâ€™s win in Tuesdayâ€™s Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter, but the signs were there beforehand with 4Â winners from just 19 runners. Considering they sent out 128 and 136 winners in the 2007/08 and 2008/09 seasons then the last two campaigns with 76 and 84 have been a bit disappointing by their high standards. I, however, expect them to get back on track this term and although theyâ€™ve only had 14 winners so far they are yet to get into top gear and are being fairly limited still with their runners. Jockey Robert Thornton is now fully fit and ready to get first choice on their runners and has been on all of their recent 5 winners. In all of the past 4 seasons theyâ€™ve had more hurdles winners than those over fences. There is a bit of a feeling that they do well with their bumper horses too, but, for me, these can often be priced up based on the yardâ€™s reputation, rather than ability and with only 9 victories from 91 runners in this sphere last season then this further backs this up.
Up-coming entries and track stats: Towcester (16 from 63, 25%), Fontwell (23 from 88, 26%), Wincanton (23 from 134, 17%), Sandown (12 from 90, 13%), Doncaster (flat 1 from 13, 8%) & Ffos Las (3 from 33, 9%).
TIM VAUGHAN (8 winners from his last 29 runners, 28% strike-rate): Yes, no surprise to see the Tim Vaughan yard still figuring high on the hot list. Four more winners since we mentioned them last week, including a monster 20/1 on Wednesday, plus a string of placed finishers have cemented their place for another week. With 65 winners already this season they are fast heading towards breaking the 100 mark for the first time (best ever 91). Based on previous seasons you can expect to see more of their winners over hurdles, and this trend is repeating itself again this term with 43 of the 65 being over the smaller obstacles. Another interesting thing to note is that when their horses go off clear favourite in the betting then you should take notice â€“ all three to be sent off as the market leader recently have won!
Up-coming entries and track stats: Towcester (11 from 49, 22%), Hexham (4 from 20, 20%), Fontwell (23 from 105, 22%), Sandown (0 from 5), Wincanton (9 from 35, 26%), Ffos Las (14 from 135, 10%) and Market Rasen (17 from 88, 19%).
CHARLIE LONGSDON (8 winners from his last 37, 22% strike-rate): Another name thatâ€™s hard to keep off the list at present. That said, despite figuring again this week a tiny word of caution is advised as they are now 12 runs without success and did have one turned over at heavy odds on earlier this week. With 32 winners already then itâ€™s a certainly they will better last seasonâ€™s tally of 44 and so far this campaign of their 112 runners a massive 59% have finished fourth or better.
Up-coming entries and track stats: Towcester (3 from 35, 9%), Fontwell (4 from 46, 9%), Sandown (6 from 26, 23%), Southwell (2 from 26, 8%) & Hereford (6 from 30, 20%)
NIGEL TWISTON-DAVIES (9 winners from his last 40 runners, 23% strike-rate): Son Sam has ridden all bar 4 of the yardâ€™s last 40 runners and has also been onboard all of their recent 9 winners. This time of year has always been a great time to follow the stable, especially with the Cheltenham Open Meeting coming up in just over a week â€“ a fixture they rarely let pass without success. Amazingly theyâ€™ve never bagged 100+ winners over the sticks, with 97 a few seasons back the best theyâ€™ve managed.Â So far they are on the 29 mark, so are just under a third of the way if they are to finally hit the ton, while based on previous seasons the split between hurdles and chase wins is almost 50-50.
Up-coming entries and track stats: Towcester (14 from 107, 13%), Fontwell (6 from 34, 18%), Sandown (3 from 53, 6%), Wincanton (5 from 47, 11%) & Ffos Las (9 from 64, 14%).
This Weekâ€™s Cold Trainer......................
COLIN TIZZARD (26 days and 29 runners without a win): Itâ€™s not exactly panic stations yet, but I thought it was just worth bringing to your attention the form of the Tizzard yard. Yes, they might have just had a bit of bad luck, while a lot of their recent runners have been big prices, but they did have a well-fancied runner beaten at Evs at Chepstow on Wednesday and are now almost a month without a win.
Click on a trainer's name to see their future entries