Weighed In: Lisp on the list | Statistical insight and horses to follow

Find out which horses have caught Ben's eye this week
Find out which horses have caught Ben's eye this week

Ben Linfoot’s Tuesday column returns for the jumps season with statistical insight added to eyecatchers and a horses to follow list.

Statistical Insight

Lavelle one to follow in November handicaps

Only now are the wraps being taken off the big guns as the jumps season hits full throttle, but as we head towards the second week in November we are now firmly in ‘National Hunt season proper’ territory.

It’s still early days, though, and that’s why I think it takes a certain type of trainer to prosper at this time of year as variables such as fitness, freshness, ground and various others come into play.

Targeting early-season handicaps will suit some yards more than others, with some aiming for a fast start to the campaign while others adopt a more patient approach.

In the below tables you can see career statistics for National Hunt trainers in handicaps in the month of November (over both fences and hurdles). I’ve chosen to focus on handicaps as they’re the races that most interest me from a betting perspective.

Table 1 represents the top 10 trainers in terms of number of handicap winners in the month of November over the years.


Table 1 *Information correct on the morning of Tuesday November 5, 2019.

Table 1
Table 1


As you can see there are few surprises here. Paul Nicholls and Nicky Henderson have the best strike-rates, while Philip Hobbs is third best in the percentage of rivals beaten list.

Venetia Williams performs well in November, too, while Jonjo O’Neill has had plenty of winners from a large number of runners. Nothing that you wouldn’t expect.

The one eyebrow-raising figure was Nigel Twiston-Davies’ strike-rate of only 11.14 per cent, as he’s well known for starting the season well.

Perhaps November is a bit late for him, as his October figures under the same criteria (handicaps only) read 122 wins from 681 runners at 17.91 per cent (rivals beaten 57.43 per cent).

Table 2 is more interesting, as I’ve handpicked 10 trainers with promising strike-rates when it comes to handicap winners in the month of November. I'll be monitoring the handicap entries of all these trainers this month for my own punting purposes and when researching Value Bet and so on.


Table 2 *Information correct on the morning of Tuesday November 5, 2019.

Table 2
Table 2


Obviously we are dealing with less data here, with several up-and-coming trainers listed, but there’s plenty of evidence that Emma Lavelle is more than adept at this time of year in handicaps.

She’s approaching 50 winners at a strike-rate of almost 22 per cent, an excellent number taking into account the strike-rates of the very best in Table 1, so her entries are well worth monitoring over the next three weeks.

I’m particularly looking forward to seeing where she sends OLD RASCALS, who won a novice hurdle with authority when last seen in February.

He was entered in the novices' handicap chase at Ascot last Saturday at the six-day stage and is a real fencing type. He's added to the horses to follow list at the bottom.

This Saturday the Lavelle stable could be represented by VIVA VITTORIA and/or MISTY BLOOM in the Richard Barber Memorial Mares’ Handicap Hurdle and the former is particularly interesting.

She travelled nicely on handicap debut at Market Rasen in February, winning off a mark of 116, and the horse that beat her in her only subsequent run, Miss Delighted, received 6lb and followed up the win with another victory subsequently.

Off 119, Viva Vittoria would be of interest against her own sex at Wincanton, especially considering her trainer’s record in handicaps at this time of year.


*Note to readers – I’ll be looking at something statistical every week, be it trainers, jockeys, sires, course specifics, combinations, headgear, whatever you can think of. It’ll be relevant to upcoming racing (e.g, I won’t look at Glorious Goodwood sire stats in December) but if there’s anything you want me to look into get in touch via racingfeedback@sportinglife.com or via twitter @BenLinfoot


My Stable Eyecatchers

DORKING BOY (Tom Lacey)

Dorking Boy has only gone up 3lb for his good second at Ascot on Saturday and he’s one to add to your trackers.

With the hood removed on his first start since wind surgery, he travelled well in the Gardiner & Theobald Conditional Jockeys’ Novices’ Handicap Hurdle and gave way only to the in-form and hat-trick landing Mason Jar.

Referring back to Table 2, you can see that his trainer Tom Lacey is assembling a good record in handicaps in November (25.81 per cent strike-rate), so keep an eye out for his entries this month.

Dorking Boy was seven lengths clear of the rest and looks an improved horse by Saturday’s evidence.


LISP (Alan King)

The handicapper has left Lisp alone on 145 following his fourth-place finish in the Sodexo Handicap Hurdle at Ascot on Saturday and he’s a horse to follow.

While the winner, Gumball, and the placed horses, Red Force One and Nordic Combined, all raced prominently, Lisp did by far the best of those that raced from off the pace and is worth marking up for his effort.

Add in the fact he improved 8lb on Racing Post Ratings from first to second start last season and he becomes of major interest next time out.

Alan King’s five-year-old is still on the up and the County Hurdle fifth could be a big player in the Greatwood at Cheltenham if he heads there on Sunday week. Prices north of 25/1 make some appeal.

*Dan Kelly (@muffinmannhc on twitter) tells me that Alan King said after the Ascot bumper he's likely to go chasing. Perhaps hold those Greatwood bets, then, but he remains a horse to follow.


Weighed In: My Stable Horses To Follow

  • Dorking Boy (added 05/11/2019)
  • Lisp (added 05/11/2019)
  • Old Rascals (added 05/11/2019)

This list will be reviewed every week. If any horses upset us they will be swiftly removed!


My Stable - Horse Tracking Made Simple

Click here to register log in to your My Stable account

It’s that time of the year when jump season takes centre stage. With thousands of horses, hundreds of jockeys and plenty of trainers performing across the UK & Ireland in multiple meetings every single day, it can be tough to keep track of all that catches your eye.

But not any longer. Our My Stable service is the simple and perfect way to stay on top (and ahead) of the game. You can easily follow the progress of your favourite horses, jockeys and trainers across six months of pure racing theatre by adding them to My Stable.

It’s your own personal space on your free Sporting Life account where you can create a yard full of talent that means something to you. That way, you can develop your racing knowledge and build a better picture of the races to come. Plus, you also get notifications when anyone in My Stable is due to perform so you never miss a jump – or an opportunity to profit.


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