GOSDEN SCALES THE HEIGHTS IN PRIZE MONEY
Our expert looks at the effect of altitude on trainers’ stables
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 email@example.com. Until then, good investing.