Our ex­pert looks at the ef­fect of al­ti­tude on train­ers’ sta­bles

Racing Ahead - - EDDIE WOOD -

Last month,I promised you some of the al­ti­tude group­ings for the top Flat train­ers.Here they are.The 14 group­ings are rep­re­sented by a band­ing spread of 25 me­tres in the ta­ble.The train­ers do not in­clude those over­seas.

It is no sur­prise that John Gos­den and Wil­liam Hag­gas are based at the rac­ing head­quar­ters of New­mar­ket in Suf­folk. Gos­den has 141 horses and Hag­gas has 137. It is a most man­age­able num­ber whereas Richard Fa­hey, Richard Han­non and Mark John­ston have over 1,000 horses in their care.The qual­ity of their charges in terms of prize money places them be­hind John Gos­den in sec­ond, third and fourth re­spec­tively. While this per­for­mance is ad­mirable, their strike-rates are con­sid­er­ably less than Gos­den’s; Mark John­son has a strike-rate of 14%,Richard Han­non’s is 13% and Richard Fa­hey’s is even lower at 11%.

Th­ese train­ers are in dif­fer­ent al­ti­tude group­ings than John Gos­den’s Group B.In fact, half of the train­ers in the ta­ble are in this cat­e­gory and are mainly based in the New­mar­ket, Suf­folk area.While there are 42 entries in the list, it will not have es­caped your no­tice that those op­er­at­ing within the fol­low­ing al­ti­tude group­ings did not make the top train­ers list for 2016. They are C (51-75 me­tres), K (251-275 me­tres,) M (301-325 me­tres) and O (351375 me­tres.) I will give more on that sub­ject at a later date.

This has given me an in­ter­est­ing fo­cus to my re­search.If one is talk­ing about meth- ods, one can eas­ily see that if races are con­sis­tently won by a par­tic­u­lar group­ing then it is highly sig­nif­i­cant.

But that does not say that al­ti­tude is the dom­i­nant cause.In fact,it is un­likely to be so as there are hun­dreds of vari­ables in any given race.How­ever,link­ing the main fac­tors of class, course di­rec­tion, fit­ness and go­ing to al­ti­tude may un­earth more con­struc­tive meth­ods and sys­tems.

I be­lieve this will be espe­cially the case when we con­sider the higher al­ti­tude train­ing yards vis­it­ing the high­est al­ti­tude level race­courses.

I must men­tion though a star­tling anom­aly in the form of Michael Dods’ horses. The clear ma­jor­ity of his win­ners come from 15 dif­fer­ent cour­ses, all hav­ing a lower al­ti­tude fig­ure than his sta­bles.This sur­prised me and I will be look­ing care­fully at all train­ers from this per­spec­tive.

You may be in­ter­ested to know that the trainer op­er­at­ing at the high­est al­ti­tude level is Bernard Llewe­lyn. He is based at Bar­goed, Mid-Glam­or­gan and his sta­ble and oth­ers who train at al­ti­tudes of more than 150 me­tres will be com­pre­hen­sively re­searched. I be­lieve that this piece of re­search alone will give us the de­fin­i­tive an­swer of whether the per­for­mance of race­horses trained at th­ese high lev­els ben­e­fits them in any way.

I re­cently spoke to Nigel Hawke as part of my in­ves­ti­ga­tion.Many of you will know that he trains at Tiver­ton but sev­eral years ago, he was based else­where at an al­ti­tude of 54 me­tres.You would have to put 173 me­tres on top of that to reach the level he is train­ing at now. Like other train­ers I have spo­ken to,he wel­comes the fresh air present at higher al­ti­tudes. I fol­lowed this up with an email giv­ing the lo­ca­tions where his charges may have a greater chance of suc­cess.

I will give the de­fin­i­tive re­sults in a fu­ture ar­ti­cle.In fact,it may be late au­tumn when I write on this sub­ject again with the re­sults of horses al­lied to al­ti­tude and other fac­tors.

In next month’s ar­ti­cle, I will re-visit the race­course scene giv­ing facts and fig­ures on the tracks of Eng­land, Scot­land and Wales.

As the vol­ume of in­for­ma­tion is so great, they will be pre­sented in two parts in the next two is­sues of Rac­ing Ahead. If you wish to con­tact me with any com­ments or queries re­gard­ing the sub­ject of this ar­ti­cle or any oth­ers I have penned, please email me at ed­diewood2@out­look.com. Un­til then, good in­vest­ing.

John Gos­den

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