With the current cold snap it looks like it could be mostly AW action for the next few days - but we've got a flat handler that's red hot at present.........
JAMIE OSBORNE (5 winners from his last 9 runners, 55% strike-rate): A monster 188/1 double at Kempton might have been a surprise to some but with three winners from their last 7 runners prior to that brace then I’m sure plenty of punters would have taken note. That puts them on 9 from just 24 sent to post (38%) in 2012 and are a huge +£57 ahead at level stakes. So after just 4 weeks they are already over a third of the way to bettering their 2011 tally of 24, and with one of the biggest flat owners, Dr Marwan Koukash, getting more and more behind them then the yard could be heading for and exciting season ahead. Of the four AW tracks they have the best strike-rate at Southwell – they are currently 17 from 77 (22%) there.
Upcoming entries and track stats: Southwell AW (17 from 77, 22%),Lingfield AW (13 from 150, 9%) & Wolverhampton AW (22 from 210, 10%)
JAMES EWART (3 winners from his last 7 runners, 43% strike-rate): With 17 winners this term then this NH trainer is already having his best-ever season. They tend to do slightly better with their chasers with 11 of those 17 coming over the bigger obstacles, but they are also 2 from just 7 with their bumper horses this term. Jockey Brian Hughes gets most of the rides, and has been on two of those 3 recent winners. Looking ahead and weather permitting they have several entries on the horizon, but keep an eye on anything they run at Catterick over fences – they are 5 from 17 (34%) there in recent years.
Upcoming entries and track stats: Catterick (7 from 34, 21%), Wetherby (3 from 20, 9%) & Musselburgh (5 from 54, 9%)
LUCY WADHAM (4 winners from her last 11 runners, 36% strike-rate): The Black Baron (15/2) was another decent-priced winner on Tuesday for the yard and that made it 4 from their last 11. Jockey Leighton Aspell, who is also having a good time at present, has been on all their recent winners, while this recent vibrant spell puts them on 11 victories for the season – just one less than last year’s final tally. Their best-ever season in terms of numbers was 18 which they managed in both 2005 and 2009, so that will be a firm target. Six of their 7 NH Flat runners have finished fourth or better, including two wins, and, finally, don’t just limit your search for their runners to the jumping fixtures as they also had 8 wins from 45 runners on the level last year too. The only downside is that they don’t appear to have many (or any) entries at the moment, but I still thought it would be worthwhile knowing what sort of form their runners are in – and, hey, maybe when they do have some more runners in the coming weeks the layers would have forgotten this current good spell!
Upcoming entries and track stats: No immediate entries
HENRY DALY (4 winners from his last 12 runners, 33% strike-rate): With just 8 winners last season then this really was a big campaign for the Daly team. However, with 18 successes already they are right back on track to fire in their normal 25-40 winners in a season and with 57% of their 130 runners this term hitting fourth or better then more often than not you get a good run for your money backing a Daly horse. In terms of the split between hurdles and chase winners its fairly even with 8 over the bigger obstacles and 10 over hurdles, but one word of caution they are currently 0 from 16 with their NH Flat runners so far this term. Finally, they use an array of pilots, but Richard Johnson has been on 3 of their 4 recent winners, so when he’s getting the leg-up then this is a further positive.
Upcoming entries and track stats: Towcester (10 from 76, 13%) & Sandown (0 from 19)
MARK JOHNSTON (10 winners from his last 30 runners, 33% strike-rate): This yard got a big mention last week and they didn’t let us down with 5/1, 9/2 and 7/2 winners since as they bid for their fourth AW trainers’ title on the spin. Yes, they do have plenty of runners and this will only increase as the season progresses, but they are clearly setting out an early marker to the other big yards and with jockey Joe Fanning back to riding at his best then he’ll, as well as Silvestre De Sousa, could be in for good times ahead. That puts them on 14 wins from just 44 runners in 2012 (32%) and are currently operating at a +£20 level stake profit. As the season moves on based on their 2011 figures it could pay to note that of their 179 successes 54 came on the AW, while a huge 107 came with their 3 year-olds. They are also having the odd runner over at Dundalk to keep an eye out for, while despite not being known for their jumpers they do have a few entered over hurdles in the coming days at Sandown and Musselburgh.
Upcoming entries and track stats: Southwell AW (65 from 276, 24%), Wolverhampton AW (80 from 367, 22%), Lingfield AW (70 from 337, 21%), Dundalk AW (7 from 27, 26%), Sandown (no runners) & Musselburgh (0 from 2)
CHARLIE LONGSDON (5 winners from his last 16 runners, 31% strike-rate): They didn’t have many runners last week so their current good strike-rate remains intact, but with 51 winners already this term then this is already going to be their best-ever season. You’d also be sitting on a cool +£40 if you’d backed all their runners at level stakes this season for £1, and have in fact shown a positive level stakes profit in 4 of the last 5 years. Jockeys Felix De Giles, Kielan Woods, who claims a handy 5lbs, and Paddy Brennan are the main men to look out for in the plate having ridden all of their recent winners between them. They are also making a name for themselves with their NH Flat horses this term with 10 winners from just 32 runners (31%) – but overall they are one of the yards on the up and providing they can just attract a few slightly bigger owners in the coming seasons then they really could make further progress towards the likes of Pipe, King, McCain, Nicholls and Henderson.
Upcoming entries and track stats: Towcester (6 from 44, 14%), Sandown (7 from 33, 21%), Wetherby (6 from 13, 46%), Fontwell (4 from 51, 8%) & Ffos Las (2 from 9, 22%)
PAUL NICHOLLS (14 winners from his last 47 runners, 30% strike-rate): A Taunton treble on Tuesday, with Ruby riding them all, sent punters home happy and as we move full steam ahead towards festival season then the best yard in the land could not be in much better form. Obviously when Ruby rides this will impact the prices, but Daryl Jacob must be over the moon that he switched to the yard as their number two and is also firing in the winners – he’s currently on 67 (his best-ever tally). The yard need just 4 more wins to hit 100 winners this season, and although his tally is not as much as Henderson they are way out ahead in terms of prize money won with over £1,560,000 banked already! In the week the well-bred French import Dilar made a winning start over hurdles and is now a leading player in the Triumph Hurdle betting, while Sanctuaire entered the Arkle picture with a facile front running victory at Taunton – I would, however, be slightly concerned about his sometimes suspect jumping style around the trickier Prestbury Park fences. If there is one word of caution it could be to swerve their NH Flat horses at the moment as they are only 3 from 22 in that sphere this season.
Upcoming entries and track stats: Wincanton (55 from 212, 26%), Chepstow (45 from 218, 21%), Ffos Las (3 from 16, 19%), Wetherby (2 from 11, 18%) & Sandown (39 from 129, 30%)
IAN WILLIAMS (6 winners from his last 20 runners, 30% strike-rate): We flagged up just how well a lot of the ‘Williams-named’ trainers are doing at the moment and with a couple more successes since last week this particular Williams is still in red-hot form. They are now already 9 from 28 (32%) with their flat runners this term, while with 23 victories over the sticks then although it’s unlikely they will beat their best-ever total of 51 (2002-03), they are still having a great campaign. In terms of jockeys it’s Stevie Donohoe on the flat and Harry Skelton over the sticks as the ones to look out for when riding. Glancing ahead to their upcoming entries it could be significant that their recent Wolverhampton winner – Gabrial’s King – has three potential engagements over the next few days. Finally, it looks like there is going to be an extra AW fixture at Kempton on Sunday – so keep that in mind for all the AW trainers.
Upcoming entries and track stats: Wolverhampton AW (31 from 216, 14%), Catterick (0 from 3), Sandown (2 from 19, 11%), Ffos Las (2 from 7, 29%), Wetherby (8 from 31, 26%), Kempton AW (17 from 105, 16%) & Lingfield AW (15 from 64, 23%)
RICHARD ROWE (4 winners from his last 14 runners, 29% strike-rate): The West Sussex-based trainer is having a real resurgence of form at present with 4 of this last 14 going in, while 11 of those 14 actually finished fourth or better to give further evidence of how well the yard’s horses are performing. Being based in the south it goes without saying that you’ll find most of his runners at places like Plumpton, Fontwell and Folkestone, but it’s also worth knowing that this purple patch also consists of two flat AW wins, from just 4 runners. Back to the jumps it helps that leading owner Andy Stewart, of Big Buck’s fame, puts a few horses his way, and his Plumpton winner on Monday – Aikideau – looks an exciting prospect, especially when they stick him over jumps next season.
Upcoming entries and track stats: (Fontwell 5 from 95, 5%)
REBECCA CURTIS (3 winners from her last 11 runners, 27% strike-rate): Another of the newer yards that are on the rise and with 29 winners already this season then they have already bettered last terms 28 victories. They are a very selective yard as those 29 successes have come from just 131 runners, while it’s interesting that jockey Tom Scudamore is ridding more and more for the yard. They are also another stable that thrives with their bumper horses with 6 successes from 28 sent to post this season – including Sunday’s very impressive Ffos Las winner God Of The Kop - while 64% of those NH Flat runners actually finished fourth or better.
Upcoming entries and track stats: Chepstow (4 from 33, 12%), Ffos Las (22 from 92, 24%), Wetherby (no runners) & Sandown (1 from 4, 25%)
NICKY HENDERSON (12 winners from his last 46 runners, 26% strike-rate): A 23/1 treble on Tuesday, including one on the flat at Southwell, continued the good run for the Seven Barrows yard. That puts them on 108 for the season as they chase last year’s haul of 153, but although they are ahead of Nicholls in that respect they still trail them by over £400,000 in the prize money stakes. Two or three big festival wins can soon eat into that, but it’s hard not seeing Nicholls matching that and with the Dicheat yard also in red-hot form at present then it will now take a big effort from Henderson if they are to close the gap. Of the Henderson 108 winners 64 have been with their hurdlers and 32 over fences, while I say it most weeks they are also 12 from just 37 (32%) with their bumper horses. At this stage Oscar Whisky is entered in Saturday’s Welsh Champion Hurdle at Ffos Las, while Burton Port, who we last saw back in the 2010 Hennessy, could make his return to the track at Sandown this weekend.
Upcoming entries and track stats: Wincanton (9 from 61, 15%), Towcester (15 from 53, 28%), Chepstow (3 from 24, 13%), Ffos Las (16 from43, 37%), Wetherby (4 from 16, 25%) & Sandown (29 from 134, 22%)
ALAN KING (8 winners from his last 31 runners, 26% strike-rate): A Cheltenham treble last Saturday was a further indication that the King horses are hitting top gear at the moment and with 21 of their last 31 also finishing fourth or better then it’s clear that almost anything they running will give you something to cheer. Jockey Wayne Hutchinson is making hay while the injured Choc Thornton recovers, but by all accounts he’s not too far off a return to the saddle and with the horses in such good form I bet he can’t wait. Much has been said about the strength in depth this year surrounding their juvenile hurdlers - in particular Grumeti, who is one of those at the head of the Triumph Hurdle betting. So far 110 of their 194 hurdles runners this season have finished fourth or better (29 wins), while their overall win tally is currently 52 – they managed 84 last year. To me it looks as if they’ve got more ammunition this season and with a big chunk of the campaign still to come I fully expect them to get very close to the 100 mark.
Upcoming entries and track stats: Wincanton (24 from 148, 16%), Wetherby (6 from 31, 19%) & Sandown (14 from 103, 14%)
This Week’s Cold Trainers........
TIM VAUGHAN (31 days and 38 runners without a winner)
NIGEL TWISTON-DAVIES (14 days and 30 runners without a winner)
Click on a trainer's name to see all their upcoming entries