NICKY HENDERSON (6 winners from his last 14 runners, 43% strike-rate): The jumps season proper might be over, but you’d forgive the Henderson yard if they wanted to take things a little easier after the season they’ve just had – wrong. The Seven Barrows team have seemingly got a whole batch of summer jumpers they want to go to war with and like a lot of NH yards at present are taking advantage of the softer ground for this time of year. A double form the two runners they sent down to Fontwell on Wednesday, while 9 of their last 15 runners have finished third or better, and although Barry Geraghty might not be around as much this gives the likes of David Bass and Andrew Tinkler the chance to grab a few winners. Of their 6 recent winners, they are continuing where they left off last season with their NH Flat runners as two of the 4 have come in that arena, while looking ahead there seems to be no let up with plenty of entries over the coming days.
Upcoming entries and track stats: Perth (3 from 12, 25%), Ludlow (34 from 95, 36%), Aintree (19 from 122, 16%), Bangor (14 from 55, 25%), Uttoxeter (10 from 38, 26%), Market Rasen (14 from 33, 42%), Stratford (8 from 36, 22%)
ROBIN BASTIMAN (4 winners from his last 11 runners, 36% strike-rate): Their stable star, Boderlescott (entered in the Temple Stakes – May 26th), ran a great race to finish second in a conditions race at Chester last week and that run showed connections they still have plenty to go to war with in the main sprints. Add in that the overall form of the yard could not be better and after flagging up the stable last week they’ve since fired in a 25/1 winner at Thirsk on Saturday night. They are now +£26 for the season and with 6 winners they are already well on their way to bettering last season’s tally of 15 – their best yet. Keep an eye for Cannon Bolt as his recent Thirsk flop was too bad to be true, and might just have come a bit too soon after his easy Musselburgh win. Jockey Daniel Tudhope could be another clue to how well they fancy one as his riding figures for the yard in recent weeks read: 1-1-2-1, including that 25/1 success. The only downside is that they don’t seem to have too many engaged this week – still maybe the bookies will forget about their good form when they do have a few more runners! Upcoming entries and track stats: Ripon (0 from 20), Thirsk (2 from 22, 9%), Haydock (0 from 10)
VENETIA WILLIAMS (8 winners from her last 26 runners, 31% strike-rate): Possibly no trainer in better form at present, and a Towcester treble on Monday backed that up. That’s already 11 now for the new jumps season, from just 31 runners, and considering how slow they started last term I guess Venetia is doing her best to avoid a repeat. With Aidan Coleman another of the new wave of jockeys really making a name for himself I suspect if things continue in this vain then he might be snapped up by one of the even bigger yards in seasons to come, but he’s been on all of their recent 10 winners and with plenty of those winning with easy you can expect them to go in again in the coming weeks. Obviously a lot of this current good spell is down to the very wet conditions around the country at the moment and although the flat boys might be suffering the NH handlers probably can’t believe their luck in having proper jumping ground at this time of the year. Upcoming entries and track stats: Ludlow (9 from 49, 18%), Aintree (3 from 63, 5%), Bangor (12 from 90, 13%), Uttoxeter (5 from 75, 7%), Stratford (3 from 26, 12%)
WILLIAM HAGGAS (7 winners from his last 25 runners, 28% strike-rate) : Vow, the stable’s big Oaks hope was an impressive winner of the Lingfield trial last weekend and despite wandering around in the closing stages she looks a filly on the upgrade and with the yard winning that Classic 12 months ago then everything points to a huge run – she’s now around 6/1 in the betting. In fact 4 of their last 13 runners have won, and despite Lordofthehouse being a tiny bit disappointing up at Thirsk on Saturday night, he only just failed to get up and will improve again once stepped up in trip. This good spell puts them on 12 winners already for the season, from just 55 runners – with a massive 65% of their runners finishing fourth or better. 86 has been their best-ever tally (2008), so they will have that in mind, but I suspect they will be happy to just better last season’s haul of 76. Over the past 5 seasons they’ve done by far the best with their 3 year-olds (172 winners), and with 9 of their 12 successes coming in that age bracket so far this term then it’s much the same in that respect. Nothing new here, but keep a special eye for when the yard book Johnny Murtagh – his last 2 rides for the yard have been winning ones, while with York this week then it could pay to keep their runners on your side – they are 2 from 8 with their 2 year-olds and 4 from 18 with their 3 year-olds on the Knavesmire.
Upcoming entries and track stats: Salisbury (4 from 26, 15%), York (9 from 47, 19%), Newmarket (15 from 125, 12%)
MARK USHER (3 winners from his last 11 runners, 27% strike-rate): This yard got a mention last week and despite only having a handful of runners they did do the business for us with a 13/2 success at Nottingham last Friday. That puts them on 11 for the new season and well over a third of the way to bettering last season’s best-ever tally of 28 wins. Three of their last 4 seasons have ended in a positive level stakes profit and being +£4 at the moment things are heading in the same direction. The bulk of their winners have been with their older horses (8), but they are 1-from-3 with their juveniles too, so take that into account. David Probert gets a lot of action for the yard, as does Hayley Turner and the very promising Racheal Kneller, who has been on one of those recent three winners. I think I mentioned it last week too, but remember to keep an eye for any Epsom runners in the coming weeks – they are 2-from-5 at the Surrey venue in recent years. Upcoming entries and track stats: Salisbury (3 from 27, 11%), Newbury (2 from 30, 7%), Newmarket (0 from 3)
CHARLIE MANN (3 winners from his last 11 runners, 27% strike-rate): Only sent out 22 winners last season, and 20 the term before that, so you suspect 2012-13 will be a big season for the Mann team as they bid to get back on track. With 3 successes from their last 13 runners then things are looking good, and in fact 3 of their last 7 runners have gone in. Again, another yard that are making hay while the soft ground conditions continue and in young Gavin Sheehan they’ve got a very useful 7lb claimer to use at their disposal too – he’s been on all three recent winners for the yard. Those successes this season have also all been over hurdles, plus keep a look out for any that go to Ludlow on Thursday – they have a decent 24% strike-rate there at the moment, while in contrast they are 0-from-26 at Stratford in recent years and do have a few entered there on Sunday. Upcoming entries and track stats: Ludlow (8 from 34, 24%), Bangor (3 from 23, 13%), Stratford (0 from 26), Market Rasen (7 from 48, 15%)
DONALD McCAIN (7 winners from his last 27 runners, 26% strike-rate): With another Chester Cup win and then landing the old Swinton Hurdle at Haydock on Saturday the McCain yard became one of only three trainers to land both races, and the first to do so in the same season. So with these wins coming over both codes they’ve once again further advertised their claims as one of the best up-and-coming yards in the land, and I know I’ve said it before but I really expect them to start challenging Nicholls and Henderson in the trainer’s championship in the coming seasons. Jockey Jason Maguire is riding at the top of his game and looks set to give Richard Johnson a real run for his money for that second place in the jockey’s title race next season. In terms of numbers they are already 6 winners from just 28 runners over the sticks, and thanks to two Chester wins last week they are 2-from-6 on the level. With plenty of summer jumping on the horizon you can expect no let up from the McCain team, while they won’t be afraid to take on the big boys on the flat – especially in the staying or cup races.
Upcoming entries and track stats: Perth (8 from 28, 30%), York (0 from 1), Aintree (11 from 116, 9%), Hamilton (no runners)
WILLIAM KNIGHT (3 winners from his last 16 runners, 19% strike-rate): With 13/2 and 11/1 winners lumped in with 9/4 and 15/8 winners of late then punters are certainly in front if they are following the Knight stable blind. In fact 10 of their last 17 runners have finished third or better and that now puts them on 8 for the new flat season. They are a yard that had been improving year-on-year until last season when they could only manage 13 winners, and considering they notched 34 the season before then you can guess how disappointed they must have been. With those problems now looking well and truly behind them it looks as if they are ready to kick-on again and with 3 of their last 6 seasons yielding a positive level stakes profit and that that are already in front this term then the signs are good. Based in West Sussex, you will find the bulk of their winners on the AW tracks, especially Kempton, and with their 4+year-olds, but it’s worth pointing out of the four AW courses it’s Wolverhampton they have the best strike-rate at (10-from-37, 27%). On the green stuff keep a look out for any Yarmouth runners as they are 6 from just 27 and boast a huge +£71 level stakes profit at the seaside venue, and the same applies to Folkestone – at track they are currently 4-from-11 at.
Upcoming entries and track stats: Salisbury (2 from 29, 7%), Newmarket (1 from 17, 6%), Newbury (3 from 37, 8%), Thirsk (0 from 2), Doncaster (0 from 15)
This Week’s Cold Trainers...........
STAN MOORE (50 days and 31 runners without a winner)
CLIVE COX (26 days and 33 runners without a winner)
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