With racing back on track after the recent cold snap see which trainers have their strings in good order this week......
JOHN GOSDEN (4 winners from his last 5 runners, 80% strike-rate): Mr Gosden leapt to the defence of his winter AW jockey Nicky Mackay after Monday’s ridiculous whip ban, and who can blame him! Mackay has just started to get his career back on track and has been ridding extremely well over the last few months and to be thrown a 10 day ban for what looked, to me, as being corrective measures looked harsh. Anyway, onto the yard and, like I said last week, they are certainly being selective with their runners at the moment, but with 17 of their last 18 running fourth or better, including another 9/2 winner on Wednesday at Lingfield it’s clear that the ones they are sending to post mean business. With 9 AW wins so far in 2012, they are firing in the successes at a 47% strike-rate, and with entries at Lingfield and Wolverhampton this Friday then there should be a few more opportunities to cash in on. Of the four AW tracks it’s Southwell that they have the best record – they are 11 from 29 (38%) at the fibresand venue.
Upcoming entries and track stats: Lingfield (27 from 120, 23%) & Wolverhampton (19 from 88, 22%)
JAMIE OSBORNE (8 winners from his last 13 runners, 62% strike-rate): Just four runners since I mentioned him last week, but they added 5/2 and 2/1 winners with them and although things could be starting to tail off it’s hardly surprising after 6 winners from just 7 runners before that. Fergus Sweeney gets most of the rides and has been on 4 of those recent winners but with their string association with owner Dr Marwan Koukash that you can expect Jamie Spencer to figure in their riding arrangements too. They are now 13 wins for the season, and that’s half of what they managed for the whole of 2011, while they are currently operating at a +£36 level stakes profit. Five of those 13 winners came with their older horses, but 8 were with their 3 year-olds – they did also have 12 two-year-old winners in 2011 so in a few months you can expect them to fire in a few juvenile successes this term too. They do also have Field of Dreams running over in Dubai at the moment, so although the racing is ultra-competitive at Meydan he could pop up at a decent price.
Upcoming entries and track stats: Wolverhampton ( 23 from 213, 11%)
CHARLIE LONGSDON (3 winners from his last 6 runners, 50% strike-rate): A Musselburgh double last Saturday followed a NH Flat winner on the AW at Kempton to firm up the good being of the Longsdon team. They are being tipped as one of the new brigade of handlers to break their Cheltenham Festival duck this year and with plenty of fair chances this could very well be their time. This is already their best-ever season with 54 winners, while since they started back in 2006-07 they have only had one season that they didn’t end with a level stakes profit. They tend to do slightly better with their chasers (25 wins), but ignore their bumper runners at your peril – they are 11 from just 35 in that arena!
Upcoming entries and track stats: Leicester (3 from 18, 17%), Newbury (4 from 28, 14%), Sandown (7 from 33, 21%), Fakenham (0 from 5), Ascot (1 from 17, 6%), Market Rasen (11 from 47, 23%) & Ffos Las (2 from 9, 22%)
NICKY HENDERSON (8 winners from his last 17 runners, 47% strike-rate): No luck with Captain Conan over at Leopardstown on Sunday, but the Seven Barrows yard remain in tip-top form and with less than 4 weeks now till the Cheltenham Festival that’s not a good sign for the other trainers! A Kelso treble on Wednesday that included the very impressive Simonsig, who is now around 7/1 for the Supreme Novices' Hurdle, followed AW bumper wins for Oscar Whisky and Tetlami last week, but now the weather has picked up again you can expect to see a lot more of their horses in action. Obviously, Long Run and Sprinter Sacre will be grabbing all the headlines on Friday at Newbury, but after that then it’s unlikely we’ll see many of the stables super stars as they lock them away for Cheltenham. That said, they will still have plenty of ammo with their up-and-coming horses to keep the winners flowing and with 115 winners now for the season they will still want to beat last terms tally of 153 – in fact looking at their entries I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many horses engaged to run over the next 4-5 days! I say it most weeks, but don’t forget about their NH Flat horses – they are currently 14 from 44 (32%) this year in these races.
Upcoming entries and track stats: Leicester (14 from 31, 45%), Newbury (55 from 245, 22%), Fakenham (16 from 39, 41%), Sandown (29 from 134, 22%), Ascot (42 from 142, 30%), Haydock (9 from 59, 15%), Wincanton (9 from 61, 25%), Market Rasen (11 from 33, 33%), Ffos Las (16 from 43, 37%)
DAVID SIMCOCK (3 winners from his last 8 runners, 38% strike-rate): Another of the bigger flat yards that are paying the winter bills on the AW at the moment. They are 5 from 25 runners on the sand tracks so far in 2012 and in fact 8 of their last 9 runners have finished third or better. Martin Lane and Jamie Spencer, again with the Koukash involvement, are the jockeys to look out for, while if they do send one to Southwell then take note – they are 3 from 16 and +£8 there. Big things have been expected from this yard for a season or two now and having failed to nonth 50 winners last season by just one then they will have that as a target.
Upcoming entries and track stats: Lingfield (18 from 139, 13%) & Wolverhampton (23 from 165, 14%)
PAT PHELAN (3 winners from his last 9 runners, 33% strike-rate): Not a handler that many will be too familiar with, but this Epsom-based team are having a good time of it at present. Yes, they’ve only had 9 receent runners, and drew a blank with their 4 runners on Wednesday, but with 3 going in and two as favourite (1 joint) then keep an eye if the money comes. Jockey Ian Mongan gets the bulk of their rides and has been on all three recent winners. That puts them on 5 for the season, but considering they only managed 13 in the whole of 2011 then this is a cracking start – they have 16 as their best-ever to beat. They are a yard that do best with their older horses – last season all their 13 successes came with their 4+year-olds and with all 5 this season being in the same age bracket then that pattern is being continued. Finally, they do have the odd runner over the sticks too – they’ve sent out 2 winners from 28 sent to post over jumps this season.
Upcoming entries and track stats: Kempton (17 from 141, 12%), Lingfield (15 from 130, 12%) & Sandown (o from 8)
MARK JOHNSTON (7 winners from his last 22 runners, 32% strike-rate): The powerful Middleham yard are certainly doing all they can to help one of their main jockeys, Joe Fanning, win the AW jockeys title. Since last week’s mention the stable have fired in another six winners and Joe’s been them all! They are having plenty of runners at all the four AW tracks, and with 21 winners already in 2012 from just 65 runners then they should be in for another big season. Most of their runners these days are for Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum and anyone that saw one of his – Za’lan - finish like a train on his debut at Southwell on Tuesday will have that in their horses to follow list. They do very well with their 3 year-olds and so far this season from the 37 they’ve run a monster 28 have finished fourth or better.
Upcoming entries and track stats: Lingfield (70 from 343, 21%), Southwell (67 from 281, 24%) & Kempton (46 from 324, 14%)
LUCINDA RUSSELL (6 winners from her last 25 runners, 24% strike-rate): Having a really good time of it at the northern tracks at the moment and anything she runs at the likes of Ayr, Musselburgh, Carlisle and Newcastle should be noted. Jockey Peter Buchanan has been on four of those recent winners, with Campbell Gillies the other two. In terms of sheer numbers for this season they are currently sitting on 41 winners – exactly the number they finished with last term – and need just one more to make this their best-ever campaign! They seem to do equally well with both their chasers and hurdlers with 19 and 20 winners respectively, while they’ve also fired in 2 NH Flat winners. Looking ahead they’ve got plenty engaged up at Musselburgh on Thursday, while if Quito Du Tresor does head down to Ascot at the weekend then take note – they are 1 from 3 at the Berkshire venue.
Upcoming entries and track stats: Musselburgh (14 from 108, 13%), Carlisle (16 from 144, 11%), Haydock (4 from 34, 12%) & Ascot (1 from 3, 33%)
KEITH DALGLEISH (4 winners from his last 18 runners, 22% strike-rate): Another of the yards that is fully backing Joe Fanning for the AW jockey’s title – Keith’s old riding partner has been on all their recent winners! In their first season the yard sent out a very impressive 39 winners and with 9 from just 41 already in 2012 then they are well on the way to bettering that tally. Most of their winners come with their 4+ year-olds (8 of the 9 this season), but they did fire in 7 two-year-old winners in 2011 - so when we start to see the youngsters on the track in a month or so then it will be interesting to see what kind of batch they have this year. Looking at their AW track stats, they are still lookin for their first win at Kempton (0 from 8), and have only had 1 success at Southwell from 16 runners. In contrast they are 3 from 8 at Lingfield and 17 from 73 at Wolverhampton.
Upcoming entries and track stats: Wolverhampton (17 from 73, 23%)
This Week's Cold Trainers...................................................
NIGEL TWISTON-DAVIES (28 days and 35 runners without a winner)
TIM VAUGHAN (45 days and 40 runners without a winner)
MICHAEL SCUDAMORE (86 days and 40 runners without a winner)
Click on a trainer's name to see all their up-coming entries