This isn’t a definitive list of in-form trainers, but just three that it might be worth keeping an eye on today, as well as a bit more information about Aidan O’Brien’s strong current form:
Dan Skelton’s duo of winners yesterday won’t have come as any major shock at starting prices of 4/9 and 8/13 but both won with considerable ease and were just a latest in a stream of winners over the past week. In the last 7 days, his runners’ form reads 4P22P1126U111141P201453233111 – that’s 11 wins (and another 6 places) from 29 runners. Skelton runs 6 at Sandown today in a bid to keep his winning run going right up to the end of the season:
1.50 Sandown – Flash The Steel
1.50 Sandown – Humble Hero
2.25 Sandown – Cobra De Mai
3.35 Sandown – Captain Chaos
4.40 Sandown – Bandsman
5.15 Sandown – Wynford
This wouldn’t always be considered Aidan O’Brien’s time of year but his yard has a 46% strike rate over the last two weeks, with 12 wins from 26 runners. His strike rate throughout April is 25% which is only bettered by the strike rates of April 2016 (26%), 2012 (29%) and 2010 (26%) in the last 10 years. His strike rate in the month of April last year was 17% and in 2017 it was just 15%, so the usual theory that O’Brien’s will need the run hasn’t necessarily applied this year.
Even more striking is the record of his newcomers (note that the following statistics regard any horse which has never run in the UK or Ireland as a newcomer) – over the last 2 years, just one O’Brien horse won on their first ever outing in March or April from 17 total runners, and that was So Perfect. This year, 5 of his 12 runners have done it, a 42% strike rate (the highest that he has had since 2004). One point which may be worth noting is that the old strategy of backing his horses on their second appearance on the basis that they needed the run the first time out may not work out as well this year – of the 7 that were beaten, two have had a second start and both have disappointed (one of them, 3yo King Pellinor, was 4/5 favourite on his second start having been considerably unlucky in running first time out). Magic Fountain runs in the 2:50 at Limerick today, having finished 10th at Leopardstown on debut, and this may tell us more in this regard.
Finally, George Baker warrants a mention despite the small sample size – his form figures in the last week are 1162, and the interesting thing about this is that his winners came at odds of 2/1 and 12/1 and the runner-up was 10/1 and only narrowly beaten. He runs two outsiders today (The Gates Of Dawn in the 1:40 at Leicester and Borderforce in the 4:50 at Haydock) and it will be interesting to see whether they outrun their odds.