Her­bie Fogg says Alan King has found a win­ning for­mula

Racing Ahead - - CONTENTS - by Her­bie Fogg

Come April, few fix­tures can fry your brains or burn a hole in your bankroll as quickly as the lush emer­ald par­adise of Ain­tree. Re­cent form, es­pe­cially Chel­tenham form,of­ten goes out the win­dow as co­horts of fresh tal­ent, pre­served and honed, are un­leashed in the en­vi­rons of Liver­pool.No place for the fi­nan­cially in­cau­tious,at Ain­tree it pays to hold on tight un­til the right bet comes along.

Keep­ing tabs on one or two key yards is a good way to go,and none more so than Alan King. The supremo of Bar­bury Cas­tle has pro­duced mem­o­rable wins, the last twice from Ux­izan­dre and L'Unique while slip­ping Avispa in to win the mares’bumper at 25/1 – and has been do­ing so for years with high qual­ity names like Grumeti, Voy Por Ust­edes, Oh Crick and Walk On. In fact, since 2008 the Wilt­shire trainer shows a blind level stakes profit with run­ners at SPs up to 33/1: 12 wins from 71, +£29.38 LSP. The ques­tion is how to sort the wheat from the chaff?

Look­ing over his record, King’s win­ners are pre­pared me­thod­i­cally with a run in the last 20 to 40 days. He has win­ners over a trip, but tends to train horses with a turn of foot who are best up to 2.5 miles. Adding th­ese fil­ters im­proves the po­si­tion to 9 wins from 40,+£40.88 LSP. How­ever,the key to the yard cen­tres around breed­ing. The fac­tor unit­ing al­most ev­ery win­ner is be­ing French-bred and the re­main­der were all en­tirely GB. Adding this ex­tra an­gle pro- duces mouth-wa­ter­ing clar­ity at a very tough meet­ing – 9 wins from 29,+£51.88 LSP. In fact, only 3 of 14 qual­i­fiers since 2009 have failed to make the frame, while pro­duc­ing win and placed fin­ish­ers up to 25/1: 1,7, 2, 2, 11, 3,2, 1, 4, 2, 1, 2, 1, 1. King has a good squad this year,and there’s sure to be more in the pipe­line.

We could well be for­given for think­ing that the mar­ket must have plugged ev­ery sig­nif­i­cant loop­hole for back­ing Wil­lie Mullin’s run­ners at the Punchestown Fes­ti­val. For­given I say, but wrong. Back­ing Mullins run­ners at Punchestown is a chal­lenge worth tak­ing – he gives the meet­ing great em­pha­sis,so it’s surely just a case of mould­ing those pro­hib­i­tive prices into some­thing more vi­able.

Es­sen­tially the trick is to fo­cus on the Mullins’en­tries with am­a­teur rid­ers.Par­tic­u­larly those sad­dled on young IRE or FR-bred horses,in par­tic­u­lar 5-y-o’s to­wards the head of the mar­ket.

This cen­tury, Mullins IRE or FR-bred en­tries at the Punchestown Fes­ti­val,aged 5y-o with an am­a­teur rider,start­ing in the first three in the bet­ting (in­clud­ing joint 3rd), show a very use­ful blind profit;15 wins from 35, +£34.94 LSP – all the win­ners so far com­ing in bumpers. What makes the dif­fer­ence is un­like when Ruby goes near them, al­most all were re­turned at prices be­tween 9/4 and 8/1.

It’s also worth not­ing that when their last run was at this year’s Chel­tenham Fes­ti­val,8 from 11 have won,pro­duc­ing £+30.73 LSP.

Her­bie is the edi­tor of Key Rac­ing News, www.keyrac­

Alan King

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