When racing finally resumes, punters are going to face an immediate problem when trying to find winners. As well as the usual situation at this time of year of Flat horses returning from an absence, all trainers will have had an enforced break to deal with too.
It’s worthwhile, then, looking at those trainers with good records with horses returning from a fairly long absence. I wanted to look away from the obvious – John Gosden, for instance, has a strike rate of almost 30% with horses returning from an absence of 100+ days over the last five years, but his ability is relatively factored into his runners’ odds, even though his actual over expected winners is a shade above 1, indicating he still has slightly more winners with such horses than their SPs would predict.
I’m more interested in those trainers whose record with horses returning from an absence is better than might be expected from their overall record. I think I’ve found nine trainers who fit the bill, and all are worth keeping an eye on when racing returns.
All the data below refers to Flat racing over the 5-year period from March 2015 to March 2020. The actual over expected (A/E) refers to the number of winners compared with those predicted by Betfair SP.
Overall strike rate: 12.9%
Strike rate after 100+ days’ absence: 26% (5 wins from 19 runs).
Betfair SP: +148pts
Notes: Winners include Theydon Bois 50-1 Newmarket May 2015, and Intrepidly 33-1 Kempton February 2020.
Overall strike rate: 10.6%
Strike rate after 100+ days’ absence: 18.1% (13 wins from 72 runs)
SP: + 58pts
Betfair SP: +86pts
Notes: Two of the winners came after absences of over 400 days. 7 of the 13 winners were having their first start for the stable, and nine (from just 33 runners) came at 1m2f+.
Overall strike rate: 13.7%
Strike rate after 100+ days’ absence: 21.9% (7 wins from 32 runners)
SP: + 25pts
Betfair SP: +40pts
Notes: All seven wins came at between 1m4f and 2m.
Overall strike rate: 12.4%
Strike rate after 100+ days’ absence: 16.7% (6 wins from 36 runners)
SP: + 48pts
Betfair SP: +68pts
Notes: Sly also has an outstanding record in the same circumstances over jumps (9-33, +75pts).
Overall strike rate: 10.1%
Strike rate after 100+ days’ absence: 13.2% (16 wins from 121 runs)
Betfair SP: +67pts
Notes: All 16 wins described above came between late February and late May, in other words on a traditional seasonal reappearance, rather than after a mid-season break.
Overall strike rate: 7.5%
Strike rate after 100+ days’ absence: 9.9% (8-81)
Betfair SP: +43pts
Notes: Especially worth noting with veterans; five of the eight winners were 8yo or older, and only one was younger than 5.
Overall strike rate: 9.1%
Strike rate after 100+ days’ absence: 14.8% (12 wins from 81 runs)
Betfair SP: +33pts
Notes: Kittow has a longstanding record of being one to watch with seasonal debutants in the spring, and 9 of the 12 winners above came in the month of April.
Overall strike rate: 14.6%
Strike rate after 100+ days’ absence: 24.7% (20-81)
Betfair SP: +47pts
Notes: Meade’s strike rate improves further if the criteria is pushed up to 150+ days’ absence – 15 winners from 55 runners (27.3%).
Overall strike rate: 12.6%
Strike rate after 100+ days’ absence: 17.2% (11 winners from 64 runners)
Betfair SP: +52pts
Notes: All 11 winners came at up to 1m.