Jumps Season - At The Races

Trendspotting: Profiles

    Plenty of backers focus on handicaps where juicy prices are available, and though the majority of runners in such races are often exposed, it can pay to keep on the right side of those unexposed that have yet to show their full hand to the handicapper.
  • Trendspotting

By David Myers

Handicap Debutants

For punters who like to focus on handicap races where the juicy prices lurk, it can often pay to keep on the right side of unexposed runners yet to have shown their full hand to the handicapper – a skill certain trainers are particularly good at prior to their handicap debuts.

Take Nicky Henderson for instance, who boasts a creditable record of 38-220 with all his handicap debutants to a +£34 level stakes profit since 2012.

Several other yards also came out well with their unexposed handicappers facing such company for the first time, as can be seen from the following list, which also highlights the conditions over which they excelled.

Charlie Mann: 12-69 (17%) +£44
Class 4 or 5yos : 10-44 +£53
Beaten 15l to 30l last time: 9-39 +£47

Anthony Honeyball: 13-62 (21%) +£37
Beaten 15l or more last time: 10-29 +£60
Hurdle: 9-35 +£49

Nicky Henderson: 38-220 (17%) +£34
2m½f-2m5f: 29-154 +£68
Hurdle: 31-159 +£53
Top seven placing last time 32-177 +£48
Kempton (6) & Aintree (3) 9-32 +£30

Gary Moore: 17-118 (14%) +£33
Same class or down by one grade from last time: 13-64 +£41

Nigel Twiston-Davies: 34-184 (18%) +£30
Up/down one grade in class from last time: 19-81 +£52
Hurdle: 19-104 +£38

Nicky Richards: 14-58 (24%) +£27
10st7lb to 11st5lb: 15-88 +£55
Class 4 races 9-25 +£28

Autumn specialists

Certain yards are known for having their string ready early for the “proper season”, which gets underway from October onwards, suggesting it may pay to keep an eye on the following names should they start to have a winner or two, as that could signal the start of a good run. The strike-rates some of these yards displayed at this time of year may not be the greatest, but the profits remain impressive.

October & November 2011-2015 (minimum of 10 winners)

Mrs L Wadham: 21-109 (19%) +£72
Henry Oliver: 13-71 (18%) +£62
Tom Symonds: 24-168 (14%) +£58
Harry Whittington: 12-39 (31%) +£58
Miss Emma Lavelle: 62-294 (21%) +£55
Richard Lee: 24-141 (17%) +£47
Robin Dickin: 18-158 (11%) +£42
Ben Pauling: 13-77 (17%) +£33
Tim Easterby: 15-130 (12%) +£32

First Time Out

Another interesting angle punters should consider during the coming weeks when a majority of runners will be unraced since last season, are those trainers who traditionally have their runners finely-tuned for their reappearance. With this in mind, investors can take confidence if a runner they fancy on their return hails from one of the following yards.

Absent four months or longer (minimum of 10 winners since 2012)

Mrs L Wadham: 10-73 (14%) +£81
Miss Venetia Williams: 58-334 (17%) +£58
David Pipe: 67-380 (18%) +£38
Henry Daly: 22-137 (16%) +£34
Tom Symonds: 10-87 (11%) +£33
David Bridgwater: 19-123 (15%) +£29
Ben Pauling: 13-64 (20%) +£28
Miss Rebecca Curtis: 28-144 (19%) +£24
Philip Hobbs: 74-389 (19%) +£18
Harry Fry: 27-125 (22%) +£16
Kim Bailey: 34-201 (17%) +£14

There are plenty of names above for punters to look out for with their fresh horses in the coming months, but Miss Venetia Williams is one to really concentrate on in chases where her record shines at 42-186 (+£114). David Pipe, however, did well with his reappearing runners in hurdles and bumpers at 47-262 (+£46).

Second Time Out

While the above handlers show a sparkling record with runners first time up, there could be even more value in siding with the next list of trainers that habitually see their runners step up from their first outing (following a four-month or longer break) to their second run – in other words, they leave a bit to work with following a pipe-opener.

Philip Hobbs: 81-337 (24%) +£90
Graeme McPherson: 12-77 (16%) +£69
Charlie Mann: 10-79 (13%) +£38
Mrs Caroline Keevil: 11-73 (15%) +£28
Dan Skelton: 40-167 (24%) +£26
Tom Symonds: 10-73 (14%) +£15
Gary Moore: 23-167 (13%) +£14

While Philip Hobbs also did well with his runners first time up following an absence (19%), his strike-rate improved on their second outing (24%) – a fact that was demonstrated on numerous occasions last season. For example, Sausalito Sunrise was pulled up on his seasonal return at Chepstow in October, before winning at Cheltenham 35 days later at 7/1. Additionally, Hobbs’s So Fine managed only 14th on his reappearance at Cheltenham in November, before returning to Prestbury Park 27 days later to win at 33/1.

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