With Royal Ascot next week and the Flat season really starting to take shape I thought I'd highlight a few stables that have their horses in tip-top order:
RICHARD HANNON: Okay, so they do have plenty of runners and, therefore, you'd expect them to be sending out winners, but like Henderson and Nicholls over jumps it can sometimes be harder to maintain a high strike-rate when you are running so many horses. That said, the Hannon team are currently firing in the winners at around the 17% mark and the fact they are also showing a +£17 level stakes profit with their runners this season is another plus. Of their 62 winners this campaign a monster 23 have been with their juveniles and 33 with their 3 year-olds, suggesting with just four winners in the 4+ year-old bracket then if there is one tiny negative it's this. We can expect their normal deluge of runners heading to Royal Ascot next week, but I have been especially taken with their two-year-old Sir Prancealot. He dotted up at Sandown last time in what looked a fair race despite finding a bit of trouble in-running and that to me is the sign of a good horse, while I know the yard think he could be very useful indeed. If, however, there is one Ascot negative to take into next week it could be with their three-year-olds as they are just two from 89 in that age group in recent years at the Berkshire track.
JOHN GOSDEN: Notched a 14/1 double up at Doncaster on Saturday which meant he's now sent out 10 winners this month already. They need just one more success to make it 50 up for the season, and if they continue in this form then they look certain to smash their 2011 tally of 99, while their best-ever total of 113 (1992) could be in trouble too. They are operating around the 21% mark so far this season, but it's also interesting that a huge 68% of their 230+ runners have managed to finished fourth or better. It's no surprise that stable jockey William Buick has been on nine of their 10 June winners, with Tadhg O'Shea riding their other, while in terms of their two-year-olds they've only sent four to post so far, with one winner. Plenty of entries on the horizon but pay special attention to any older horses they might send to Yarmouth this week - they are currently 5 from 11 at the track in that age group.
SIR HENRY CECIL: Four winners already in June from just a handful of runners puts them on 19 for the season. Thomas Chippendale was a nice winner for them over the weekend and he looks one to follow in the coming months (entered in the King Edward VII Stakes), and with the yard clearly in good heart then all bodes well for the mighty Frankel next week in the Queen Anne Stakes - a race he's currently around 1/4 in the betting for. No juvenile runners at all for the stable as yet, but should anything pop up at Ascot next week in that sphere take note as they are three from just five in recent years with their juveniles at the course.
MICHAEL DODS: With a monster 125/1 treble up at Newcastle on Saturday then anything the Dods team send to post at present should be noted. They added another 9/2 winner at Pontefract on Monday and that puts them on 17 now for the season as they try and chase down last terms tally of 39 - their best-ever haul was 49 (2008 & 2009). The bulk of their wins so far this campaign have been with their three-year-olds (9), but pay special attention to their juveniles too - they are three from just seven sent to post with their two-year-olds. Being based in Co Durham then most of their runners will be found at the northern tracks, but they do have Barney McGrew entered at Yarmouth on Wednesday and they are currently one from two with their recent runners at the seaside venue.
DAVID BARRON: Another yard that were amongst the winners up at Newcastle over the weekend, but with seven winners in June prior to that then the signs have been good for a few weeks now. Keep a special lookout for when young apprentice Luke McNiff gets the call to ride - he's won on his last three rides for the yard. With 22 winners now for the season they are well on their way to bettering the 57 they notched last term, but you feel they will be hard-pressed to better their best-ever total of 76 (2006). They've also shown a level-stakes profit in 4 of their last 6 seasons and being currently on +£21 this year then that trend looks like continuing.
ROBERT COWELL: Yes, not one of the biggest yards in operation but with three winners from his last 6 runners then it's there for all to see how his horses are running at the moment. Stable star Prohibit will be hoping to land back-to-back King's Stands Stakes at Royal Ascot next week and at around 16/1 in the betting he's sure to attract plenty of each-way punters. They are now on 14 successes for the season and now need just seven to equal their best-ever total (2010). As the season progresses we can expect to find a large chunk of their runners at the Lingfield and Wolverhampton AW tracks, but keep a close eye on anything they send to Bath - they are two from just three at the course in recent years.
PAUL MIDGLEY: With five of their last 10 runners going in then there are not many yards in better form at present. Based in North Yorkshire it goes without saying you'll find most of their runners on the northern circuit, while jockey Micky Fenton has a strong association with the yard. Since they started out back in 2003 they've been steadily improving each season with 51 in 2011 their best yet. They already eaten just under a third of the way into bettering that total with 15 successes, but it could pay to know 14 of those have been with their older horses. They are a stable that do well with turning around other stable's castoffs, but, like I said, with just 1 winner from over 40 two and three year-olds so far this season it might be better to avoid this age group until they show a few better signs.
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