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The second of the Horses to Follow won yesterday at Newmarket when Mootaharer strode away in the final furlong to win by 4½l. The first, Aleator, was runner-up last week at 11/2. As for the well-supported Mootaharer, there was some Evens floating about the night before (SP of 4/7) and he earned a 25/1 with Paddy Power for the 2000 Guineas. A half-brother to Muhaarar he may be, but he looks like he will appreciate a mile next season on this evidence and he reminds me of Estidkhaar who won the Superlative and Champagne Stakes last year. He might want some cut underfoot to be at his best though looking at his action.
They race at Carlisle today which gives me a link to the new Trainer Trends part of the website which will go live next week as part of the All-Inclusive Service. Here is a taster of the kind of profiles that I am putting together on the leading 25 or so trainers for the jumps season focussing here on Nicky Richards whose local course is Carlisle, but also for David Pipe.
Wouldn’t be towards the top of my favourite trainers to follow as a punter as his horses in the south generally struggle against higher-class opposition and his runners are usually well found in the market closer to home. The exception to that, surprisingly, is his local track of Carlisle. Punters often like to back horses running at their local racecourse but as it’s so close you often find that is where many of the lesser horses in the yard will end up running to save on travelling costs. Plus it is just handy anyway as more owners than not are likely to live within driving distance of the training base so trainers who reside close to a racecourse therefore usually show a thumping level stakes loss over a long period of time. Not so with Nicky Richards however.
Although Carlisle is just up the road for Richards, I was surprised to note that he has only run 151 horses there in the last ten years compared to Kelso (309), Ayr (280) and Perth (239) which suggests to me that he likes to use it for his better, younger horses. That is backed up by his strike rate at the Cumbrian course of 23.8% which is comfortably his highest s/r of any course where he has saddled over 50 runners in the last decade and where he shows an overall LSP of £27. Strip out the bumper runners where he is only 1-18 (interesting in its own right) and Richards’ overall s/r at Carlisle rises to 26.3%. Incidentally, Newcastle has been his chosen port of call for introducing many of his best bumper horses as he is an eye-catching 7-16 there in that sphere.
Like many northern-based trainers Richards struggles at the top southern tracks but I was shocked to notice just how poorly he fares at Aintree, a course that he often keeps back his best horses for in the spring rather than send them to Cheltenham. Of course Aintree is a racecourse that attracts plenty of southern-based horses for its best meetings but, even so, a 6.8% strike rate was not what I expected and I was even more surprised to note that he is just 1-28 with his novices over hurdles and fences at Aintree over the last ten years as that is his strength. In fact, take out Monet’s Garden’s four wins and he has had just one other winner at the Merseyside track in the last decade! (That said, I wouldn’t let that you put you off Duke Of Navan in Sunday’s Old Roan Chase given three of Monet’s Garden’s wins came in that same race).
Richards has also struggled at Cheltenham and especially in handicaps where he is 0-23 (and 0-31 with all chasers) and he has not fared much better in Ascot handicaps (0-13), Sandown handicaps (1-15) or Newbury handicaps (0-7). More surprising, however, being much closer to home is that he is 0-31 in Wetherby handicaps in the last decade and 0-22 in Market Rasen handicap chases.
At the smaller courses in the midlands/south, he clearly has a soft spot for Worcester though as he is 3-6 with his novices there and has an overall s/r of 25.9% and at Huntingdon where his overall s/r is 24% compared to a nationwide 16.9%.
Runners at Carlisle outside of bumpers
At Worcester and Huntingdon
Runners at Aintree
Handicap runners at the four big southern courses (Cheltenham, Ascot, Sandown, Newbury)
Handicap runners at Wetherby and Market Rasen
Consistency has been David Pipe’s watchword since he took over the reins in 2006 with none of his overall stats especially standing out but he is very consistent across the board in that he averages between 12%-19% strike rates for every month and between 15%-20% for most racecourses. However, it’s when we break things down his stats become far more interesting.
It’s the smaller Midlands tracks where he fares best which I would put down to him looking for easier opportunities away from his local base of the West Country where he has to deal with the firepower of Nicholls and Hobbs amongst others and the quality not being so hot there as at the major southern tracks. For example, note his chasers at Warwick where they are 10-35, all his runners at Leicester where his overall strike rate increases to 38%, Uttoxeter where he has trained 52 winners at an overall level stakes profit, and he has an almost 50% strike rate over fences excluding handicaps at Towcester, Stratford, Southwell and Bangor and over 50% at Market Rasen. This is his bread and butter.
Up north, he doesn’t send many to Carlisle where he has a 40% strike (8-20) so take note when he does (all three of his novice hurdlers have won there) and, in keeping with his record over fences outside of handicaps in the Midlands, also note those at Wetherby (6-11) and Hexham (3-4). Also note his trips to Scotland. Not Ayr or Kelso so much but he has a 37% strike between Perth and Musselburgh. Aintree is a course where he could have much better success as at 6% that is his worse performing track by a huge margin. His handicappers at Aintree have really struggled with just a 3% strike rate (4-117) and one of those was Comply Or Die in the Grand National! His next worst performing racecourse if you don’t count just 12 runners at Cartmel is Cheltenham at 10% but very few trainers have a good strike rate there given the Festival.
In terms of bumpers, especially note his runners at Ascot as Pipe is an impressive 5-8 at the Berkshire track in this sphere given the quality of opposition with Plumpton (6-11) another course he likes.
Of the big southern tracks, we know his love for laying one out for big handicap chases at Cheltenham but beware his handicap chasers at Sandown where he has never trained a winner from 27 attempts. He is also winless from 18 handicap chasers at Ludlow. However, Sandown is probably his favourite course when it comes to novice hurdlers or non handicap hurdlers (8-19 combined), which is a very impressive strike rate given the top yards attack those races. Also note his novice hurdlers in the poorer races in that sphere at Chepstow as he has a 44% strike rate (10-23) in Class 4 non handicap hurdles at the course in the last five years.
Another angle to look at is when he raises his handicappers from 2m4f to 3m+ as he has a 21% s/r from 47 runners showing a LSP profit of +£71 and has twice won Pertemps qualifiers with horses moving up in trip this way.
Chasers at Warwick
Non handicap hurdlers at Sandown
Non handicap chasers at the Midlands tracks (especially Warwick, Uttoxeter, Towcester, Market Rasen, Stratford, Southwell and Bangor)
Non handicap chasers at Wetherby
Bumpers at Ascot and Plumpton
Class 4 non handicap hurdles at Chepstow
Runners at Carlisle and Perth (especially in non handicap hurdles)
Handicappers stepping up from 2m4f to 3m
Aintree in general but especially in handicaps
Handicap chases at Sandown and Ludlow