Herbie Fogg says Alan King has found a winning formula
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.keyracingnews.com