Trainer Knowledge: Top 10 Nursery Trainers

Top 10 Nursery Trainers
Top 10 Nursery Trainers

It’s that time of year again when the two-year-olds start running against each other in Nursery Company. For those of you who don’t know what Nurseries are for two-year-old horses then it’s basically a handicap for the younger horses.

Some trainers do very well in this discipline year in year out, and with the backend of the flat season ahead of us, this guide could prove very useful to have to hand when looking to make a little on the gee gees.

Sir Mark Prescott does well with his Nursery runners, and is a potent force with every one of his runners – especially at Musselburgh, with 5 winning bets from 7, he shows a strike-rate of 71.43% at the northern track, and a profit of £150.05 to level £10 stakes.

So like your very best countdown program of Top 100 Chat-up lines, or TV Shows – I’ll start by introducing number 10 on the list.

Alan King
Bets: 32
Wins: 5
Strike-Rate: 15.62%
Profit to £10 Stakes: £130.00

David Elsworth
Bets: 34
Wins: 6
Strike-Rate: 17.65%
Profit to £10 Stakes: £396.20

J Howard Johnson
Bets: 28
Wins: 5
Strike-Rate: 17.86%
Profit to £10 Stakes: £125.00

Kevin Prendergast
Bets: 84
Wins: 15
Strike-Rate: 17.86%
Profit to £10 Stakes: £158.40

Jamie Osborne
Bets: 164
Wins: 32
Strike-Rate: 19.51%
Profit to £10 Stakes: £575.90

Luca Cumani
Bets: 40
Wins: 8
Strike-Rate: 20%
Profit to £10 Stakes: £116.00

Sir Michael Stoute
Bets: 35
Wins: 8
Strike-Rate: 22.86%
Profit to £10 Stakes: £145.00

David Wachman
Bets: 43
Wins: 11
Strike-Rate: 25.58%
Profit to £10 Stakes: £690.00

Roger Charlton
Bets: 39
Wins: 10
Strike-Rate: 25.64%
Profit to £10 Stakes: £8.40

Sir Mark Prescott
Bets: 80
Wins: 24
Strike-Rate: 30%
Profit to £10 Stakes: £181.10

So there you have it, the very best in profit making on two-year-old handicaps (Nurseries). Now I’ll put up a few extra stats for the top 5 trainers, for which course they’re best at.

Sir Mark Prescott
Track: Musselburgh
Bets: 7
Wins: 5
Strike-Rate: 71.43%
Profit to £10 Stakes: £150.05

Roger Charlton
Track: Bath
Bets: 2
Wins: 2
Strike-Rate: 100%
Profit to £10 Stakes: £95.00

David Wachman
Track: Curragh
Bets: 4
Wins: 4
Strike-Rate: 100%
Profit to £10 Stakes: £330.00

Sir Michael Stoute
Track: Lingfield
Bets: 3
Wins: 2
Strike-Rate: 66.67%
Profit to £10 Stakes: £115.00

Luca Cumani
Track: Wolverhampton
Bets: 3
Wins: 2
Strike-Rate: 66.67%
Profit to £10 Stakes: £160.00

The Lower Classes

Something which has always lurked in the back of my mind was looking at the unexpected angles within Horse Racing and hopefully turning them into hard cash – so after being bored for a few hours on the PC I decided to do some digging around and get the ball rolling on what I’m hoping will be some interesting and money-making stats.

I’ve started off by setting my parameters to races with prize money of £4,000 and below, this will locate races with the class bracket towards the bottom end of the spectrum. The un-genuine and the not very good can often be found down in these levels but some trainers do specifically well with these type of animals; a list of the better performing can be located in the table below.

So we have now established a list of 17 different trainers who all show a profit to level stakes in races with prize money of £4,000 or less. Taking the data from the table above it would appear that Michael Jarvis comes out top of the list in this type of grade and although he hasn’t’ showed as much profit as William Knight amongst others he’s most consistent.

Now it’s time to analyze a select few whom I’ve picked out to try and narrow down the search to specific tracks. For this I’ve used the same criteria above, but have managed to add in the course as well. I’ve started this search with Michael Jarvis as he sits top of the pile above I thought it was only fair, and it would appear he does best at Nottingham and Lingfield in these types of races.

Showing a solid strike-rate of 34% at Nottingham a track where Michael Jarvis does well on the whole is decent, although by the look of things there aren’t many decent prices lying around with just a profit of £60.06 to £10 level stakes. Lingfield however is a different kettle of fish, a strike-rate of nearly 30% but his profit is three times as much and weighs in on £380.91 to £10 units.

I then decided to give William Haggas a try after such an improved season for his yard this year and he continues to fire the winners in. He appears to do better by far in this grade at Southwell and shows a near 40% strike rate in these moderate affairs. If you’d backed all his horses in races of our criteria at Southwell to £10 you’d of made a tasty £180.35 profit. He’s also doing well at both Kempton and Yarmouth and can be backed at all three tracks to the tune of a healthy profit.

Tom Dascombe is next on the list and a trainer who has made rapid headway through the training ranks after firing in Classic Blade in the July Stakes at Newmarket, along with Firth Of Fifth in the Superlative Stakes. He’s done remarkably well since taking up his license and looks sure to progress into bigger and better things in the future. That doesn’t mean however he won’t farm these smaller races. You can already see he’s a potent force around Wolverhampton and Lingfield in races worth £4,000 or less, and shows a solid profit on each track. His horses should be followed at these two tracks as they won’t be far away judging by the above, especially at Wolverhampton.

Next I thought I’d include a local trainer in this piece and who better than Nick Williams who has really impressed this year, landing the Chester Cup with the evergreen Bulwark is an achievement worthy of note. Showing a healthy profit at all three jumping tracks above, a solid strike-rate of 35% at Worcester suggests his horses wont be far from winning went campaigned here in the lower grades.

Finally there is William Knight who has been doing well with his handicappers this year, and his flag bearer King Of Dixie has made the step up to pattern class, however Knight is doing considerably well in the lower grades at Lingfield, so much so it’s worthy of mention. A strike rate of just 11% in our criteria of races but when he runs his horses in this type of race round Lingfield his strike-rate almost doubles and posts a lethal profit of £1,315.00 to £10 stakes in the process. His horses in this grade are worth keeping in your pocket as they can make you some solid cash.

Okay now that’s your lot – I’ve spent the past hour or so putting together these stats and I think we can all see from the above stats that it is possible to make some cash in the lower grades, just keep in mind the table of trainers above when encountering a race worth £4,000 or less in prize money – that should put you onto plenty of winning bets.

Take note of William Knight with his runners at Lingfield, Tom Dascombe at Wolverhampton and William Haggas at Southwell. Although backing these trainers’ horses blind in the grade of race should ensure you keep the wolf from the door.

Take it easy,
The Duke

The Resurgent Reg Hollinshead

Reg Hollinshead
Reg Hollinshead

Aged 84 his career as a successful trainer has spanned more than 60 years and during this time he has mentored numerous leading jockeys from both the flat and jumps including Kevin Darley, who was Champion Flat Jockey in 2000, Walter Swinburn, Leighton Aspell, Fergal Lynch, Willie Ryan and Paul Eddery.

Hollinshead has been quiet in regards to winners over the last five years, but showed signs of a return to better times in 2007, and has built on that now in 2008. Sending in regular winners, Hollinshead has posted his best strike-rate to date since before 2003, showing a winning strike-rate of 11.48%. Hollinshead has shown a profit of £521.30 (to £10 Stakes) since October this year for a winning strike-rate of 20% – that’s not including today’s winner Dancing Deano whom saluted at a price of 17/2 after being backed down from 16s.

In personal experience it’s always worth noting when Russell Kennemore rides for Mr Hollinshead, as being quite a tall lad he doesn’t get as many chances as he deserves, but is a lad Hollinshead regards very highly and makes best use of his remaining 3lb allowance. Despite the stats showing a loss of over £780 to £10 stakes, of late he’s been using Russell more sparingly and is worth judging based on recent times.

Andrea Atzeni is a jockey who has caught many an eye this summer, and the young Italian looks set to make himself a big name in the sport of Horse Racing, and he too has been noticed and utilised by Reg Hollinshead – and the pairing are worth backing blind when teaming up together. Showing a LSP (Level Stakes Profit) of £270 to £10 stakes, with a strike-rate of 66.67%. Another worth looking out for is a jockey I’m not to sure on, and is pretty much unknown to me but Mr Lee Newnes is a man who can get the job done, posting an unbeaten record (3/3) when riding for Reg Hollinshead, showing a LSP of £360.00 to £10 stakes, from just three rides. So is worth close consideration when booked to ride one of Mr Hollinshead’ horses.

Above is a list of jockeys whom over the last five years have shown a nice clear profit when riding for Mr Hollinshead, and are worth watching when booked to ride for him in future. His horses are usually that of lower grade animals, and thus you will be betting in poor class races with horses holding no real secrets from the handicapper, but whatever Reg Hollinshead is currently doing with his horses is paying massive dividends – and long may it continue!

Trainer Knowledge: Top 10 Trainers who beat the system

What is it about the same trainers who beat the handicapper year in year out? Do they have a canny knack of handicapping their horses to perfection year upon year, or does the handicapper give them a chance at certain stables as opposed to others?

I mean if you had a Nick Williams horse win a maiden on debut by three lengths, and a Sir Michael Stoute horse win the same race by the same distance – would they get handicapped the same? Or would the Sir Michael Stoute horse be handicapped on his trainers’ reputation and thus run the risk of being badly handicapped?

Some trainers consistently beat the handicapper each year despite the handicapper always trying new ways to get a handle on the horse. Sir Mark Prescott is a prime example of this and in many ways the master of beating the British Handicapping System, something which he has done successfully for decades.

The only problem is now is that once your typical Sir Mark Prescott horse has had it’s three runs over a trip short of it’s best as a two-year-old, when it returns in a Handicap as a three-year-old over a more suitable trip, the cat is usually already out of the bag. The new revolution of the betting exchange or Betfair as I’d prefer to call it – now gives a more realistic interpretation of a horses price, and with one so obviously well handicapped as a Prescott handicapper first time up, a lot of people will be queuing up to hit the ‘back’ button; so you need to start looking elsewhere for better prices on less exposed masters of this handicapping shrewdness.

Therefore the aim of this article is to pinpoint 9 other trainers who beat the Handicapping system on a regular basis and show a solid profit in the process, each trainer will be presented with a list of essential stats which will give you an idea as to how often they beat the system.

David Elsworth
Bets: 855
Wins: 105
Strike Rate: 12.28%
Profit to £10 Stakes: £2,114.60

Tom Tate
Bets: 286
Wins: 38
Strike Rate: 13.29%
Profit to £10 Stakes: £700.96


David Wachman
Bets: 402
Wins: 57
Strike-Rate: 14.18%
Profit to £10 Stakes: £650.01


Chris Wall
Bets: 725
Wins: 110
Strike-Rate: 15.17%
Profit to £10 Stakes: £1,277.90


John Long
Bets: 106
Wins: 17
Strike-Rate: 16.04%
Profit to £10 Stakes: £1,410.08

Jane Chapple-Hyam; former wife of trainer Peter has had plenty of experience in horse racing. Working for sixteen years as Peter Chapple-Hyam’s assistant in both England and Hong Kong and in 2005 took a huge step into the training ranks herself. Now backed up by Jim & Fitri Hay her string only look like improving and she’s a woman who knows what she is doing.

Jane Chapple-Hyam
Bets: 157
Wins: 27
Strike-Rate: 17.2%
Profit to £10 Stakes: £900.66

A chartered accountant and a competent racehorse trainer, Nick Williams may not have the horses as some of the more prominent stables in racing but he certainly knows a handicap snip when he sees one. After all he did get Bulwark to win the Chester Cup, that’s an achievement in it’s self and a cracking year so far in 2008, suggests he’s only going to get better.

Nick Williams
Bets: 259
Wins: 51
Strike-Rate: 19.69%
Profit to £10 Stakes: £1,406.60

One of the latest new wave of talent to start up training, Tom Dascombe has made racing his life for the last 19 years, and stints as a stable lad, jockey, and now trainer – this lad has made rapid progress in his first season or two at the helm, and is a talent worth keeping on the right side of.

Tom Dascombe
Bets: 156
Wins: 32
Strike-Rate: 20.51%
Profit to £10 Stakes: £675.20

Tim Vaughan a relatively new trainer on the racing scene, although being involved with horses all his life. Took out a permit to train horses in 2005, and saddled a winner with his first runner. Investments in his abilities over the last couple of years have seen this mans talent come to the fore and looks one to follow for a while yet.

Tim Vaughan
Bets: 84
Wins: 19
Strike-Rate: 22.62%
Profit to £10 Stakes: £442.90

…and finally what list would be complete without the messiah himself, and straight in at number one goes Sir Mark Prescott.

Sir Mark Prescott
Bets: 702
Wins: 214
Strike-Rate: 30.48%
Profit to £10 Stakes: £525.00

So there you have it, 10 trainers worth following in Handicap Company which are proven money makers. All stats date back to 2003, and thus separate the men from the boys, and in Jane Chapple-Hyam’s case, the women from the girls.

Trainer Breakdown: Chris Wall

In addition to my “The Lower Classes” article, I shall now be conducting a series of tests on various trainers over the next month and trying to look into what make them tick. I know the guys on here are big fans of Chris Wall mainly because one of our members is employed by the master of Induna Stables, so that’s my first port of call for this series.

Our first approach is; looking at what tracks Chris Wall favours against others and try and piece together a pattern to make some hard earned. From the table below, you can see that Chris Wall does well at Lingfield, Newbury, Wolverhampton, Yarmouth and Sandown although Doncaster can also be included.

As you can see Chris Wall makes a healthy profit at all of the meetings listed above, but Lingfield can be both all-weather and turf and thus needs further investigation. In the table below I’ve separated them into the turf course and all-weather and although there isn’t much of a difference it’s worth splitting up the sample.

A much better strike-rate and Profit on the Turf here at Lingfield, and if you’d narrowed it down further to backing Chris Wall horses on the Lingfield turf, with the going description as Good – you’d get the following set of results.

Following this over the last five years has proven profitable however qualifiers are few and far between which can be attributed to the general core of meetings at Lingfield now are run on there artificial all-weather surface. The stats below are linked to the above table in regards to the ground condition at Lingfield, and this is how you’d have done backing these year on year.

Another place to look for Chris Wall runners are in handicaps and the master of Induna Stables can be placed up there with the best at handicapping his horses to take advantage of their marks. I’m guessing the majority wouldn’t know but if you’d backed every Chris Wall; Handicap runner since 2003, you’d of made a cool £1,260.29 to £10 level stakes – with a strike rate of 15%.

Following Chris Wall handicappers in Class 4 Handicaps will have resulted in a profit of £830.68 to £10 level units, and a strike-rate of 18.62%. However backing his handicap entrants in Class 1 events will result in a £40 loss to £10 units, as all four entrants in this grade have all lost.

Okay so now we’ve looked at his favoured tracks, favourite type of races (handicaps) so now it’s time to take this investigation to the next port of call – Race Distances. Each trainer has the ability to train a certain type of horse; Richard Hannon is most potent with his Sprinters, but struggles to do anything with horses beyond a mile. Sir Michael Stoute does well with his classic types, mile and above but has trouble with his sprinters.

So if you’d backed every Chris Wall horse over a distance of 9F and above, you’d of lost £1,280.45 to £10 level units. With just a winning strike-rate of 10.63% – that’s quite a poor showing really for a trainer who does so well with his horses, which must suggest that his runners below 9F will show a significant profit – let’s see!

Now those figures are much better; backing a Chris Wall horse over 5F to 8.5F has produced a tasty profit of £1,153.58 to £10 level stakes. Narrowing this down to handicaps only further increases the profit and overall strike rate, these details are in the below table.

Another investigation I decided to delve into was following Chris Walls’ horses in Handicaps, over the trips between 5F and 8.5F, and then added in my initial investigation of the Prize Money (See my The Lower Classes article for more detail). This produced 367 bets, 62 winners and a profit of £1,550.11 to £10 stakes, the Prize Money use was that of £0-£8,000.

So now we’ve looked into the Newmarket handler a little more it’s clear to see that was can use some of these stats to our advantage. I’ve put together a bullet-point list of what should help us go a good way towards making some money following his horses.

  • Back Chris Walls’ horses at Lingfield, Newbury, Wolverhampton, Yarmouth, Sandown and Doncaster.
  • Especially when in Handicaps, as these show a significant profit to your original stake.
  • Have more confidence in a Chris Wall runner when the distance is below 9F, his horses below this trip appear to run much better than over longer distances and make a tasty profit in the process.