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We all have favourites
As human beings we all have ‘favourites’. It may be your favourite TV program, it may be your favourite film actor/actress, it may be your favourite take away! Likewise in racing we have our ‘favourites’ – race type we like, jockeys we like and trainers we like. This article focuses on probably my favourite trainer – Mark Johnston.
Mark Johnston is a qualified vet and his wife Deirdre is his assistant trainer and together they form a first class training team. Having been granted his licence in 1987, he had his first success later that year with Hinety Video at Carlisle. He managed just 6 winners from 122 runners in his first two seasons. Since then, he has had nearly 1400 winners on the turf in England, Scotland and Wales, with numerous wins all around the world.
1994 was a landmark year in more ways than one as the stable sent out 100 winners for the first time, and also won more than £1 million in prize money. The 2003 season saw another memorable milestone when the £2 million prize money prize barrier was broken a feat that was repeated in 2005 and 2006. Last year was the most successful ever with record 159 winners. His notable training feats included winning the 2,000 Guineas in 1994 with Mister Baileys, as well as a truly memorable five wins at the 2003 Royal Ascot meeting. However, he says his favourite horse is Attraction, a filly he describes as the best horse he has ever trained. In 2004 she became the first filly to win both the English and Irish 1,000 Guineas.
The overall strike rate for the stable since 1987 has been around the 15% mark, and from 2000 to 2006 this figure has risen to 16%. In this article I am going to look at his record over the past 10 years in a variety of race-types picking out numerous winning angles. After reading this, I hope you will start to follow Mark Johnston’s runners very carefully. Firstly, let us have a look at 2yo maiden races.
2yo Maidens – All races
Courses: He has good records at Ayr, Hamilton, Epsom, Goodwood and Ripon. The two most successful courses in terms of profit are shown in the tab le below:
Distance: His 2yo maidens do best over 7f – 69 wins from 313 (SR 22%) for a profit of +£46.64 (ROI +14.9%)
Experience: The best group to concentrate on are those maidens who raced at least twice thanks to 71 wins from 241 runners (SR 29.5%) for a profit of £59.93 (ROI +24.9%).
Field size: Johnston has anexcellent record in 2yo maidens with small fields – the smaller the better. In races with 7 runners or less his record reads 77 wins from 234 (SR 32.9%) for a profit of £81.90 (ROI +35%).
Position Last Time Out: Horses that finished 3rd or 4th LTO have both shown a profit and their combined figures read 57 wins from 176 runners (SR 32.4%) for a profit of £59.38 (ROI +33.7%).
Price: The price range that has seen the most success in recent years is the 3/1 to 5/1 bracket, with 57 winners from 210 runners (SR 27.1%) for a profit of £70.66 (ROI +33.6%).
Time of year: July has been by far the strongest month for Johnston 2yo maidens with 45 wins from 151 runners (SR 29.8%) for a profit of £97.24 (ROI +64.4%).
Next race type to analyse – 3yo only handicaps.
3yo only Handicaps – All races
Overall this is a pretty impressive effort in handicaps with losses at under 3%. Not surprisingly, there are some profitable areas to note:
Distance: In races of 1m 4f or further his record is excellent with 50 wins from 246 (SR 20.3%) for a profit of £81.02 (ROI +32.9%).
Position Last Time Out: The runners who finished 2nd LTO had the best SR (27.0%) and showed the biggest profit £43.43 (ROI +37.8%).
Price: Following runners ranked 3rd to 5th in the betting market realised a profit of £89.25 (ROI +32.3%).
Time of year: July has been the best month in terms of returns with a profit of £29.38 (ROI +25.3%) thanks to 20 wins from 116 (SR 17.2%). Indeed, July, August and September were the best months with a combined SR of over 18%.
Miscellaneous stats: Runners coming from Leicester, Ripon and Sandown did well in their next races. Combining runners coming from these courses on their last run, their SR was above 30% and profits of £71.93 (ROI +78.2%) were made.
Next stop Group races for 3yos only.
3yos in 3yo Group races – All races
Class: Johnston had an excellent record in Group 3 races with 9 wins from 25 (SR 36.0%) for a profit of £21.13 (ROI +84.5%).
Courses: 4 wins from 10 at Ascot is a very strong stat.
Jockeys: Kevin Darley has a particularly good record with 9 wins from 29 (SR 31%) for a profit of £18.25 (ROI +62.9%).
3yos in all age Handicaps – All races
His record in 3yo only handicaps is excellent. However, my favoured area is when his 3yos tackle older horses in all age handicaps.
Class: From 2000 to 2004 in class C or higher Johnston had a good record with 34 wins from 205 (SR 16.6%) for a profit of £78.39 (ROI +38.2%). From 2005 onwards in class 1 to 3 events he produced 20 winners from 101 (SR 19.8%) for a profit of £23.67 (ROI +23.4%).
Courses: Two courses are really worth noting (there are others where he makes a profit):
Days Since Last Run: Horses returning to the track between 10 and 19 days had a good record with 53 wins from 274 (SR 19.3%) for a profit of £117.30 (ROI +42.8%).
Distance: Inraces of 1m4f or longer his record was remarkable – 7 winning years out of 7 thanks to 68 wins from 254 (SR 26.8%) for a profit of £166.56 (ROI +65.6%).
Field size: In races of 7 runners or less he recorded 36 wins from 110 runners (SR 32.7%) for a profit of £86.32 (ROI +78.5%).
Miscellaneous stats: Johnston made a small loss with his favourites, but favourites ridden by Kevin Darley were worth noting - 10 wins from 24 (SR 41.7%) for a profit of £15.74 (ROI +65.6%).
Plenty of positive angles therefore, and this article has only looked at 4 different race-types. Those interested in more stats like this, my e-book is still available for download. Go to www.profitabletrainertrends.co.uk
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