Good morning all,
Quick post this morning with a reply to a good question that's come in form an avid reader of the column!
Keep the questions coming in, with Cheltenham just around the corner there will be plenty of speculation over the next week once the weights for the handicaps will be released next week (and yes, yours truly will be there to ask some questions of his own!).
Do you think that the improvement in form of the David Pipe stable is that they are taking a slightly similar approach to Martin in that they are buying cheaper to enhance winner numbers. Whereas the Charlie Longsdon yard spend plenty and generally struggle in mid-season when it matters.
Will, for those of you unaware, is one of the up-and-coming young commentators on the circuit and does a tremendous job at the point-to-points. Knows how to pick a winner too and you can follow him on Twitter @willbowler2k12
To answer your question Will, I was all for writing David Pipe off completely this season and thought that, unless he improved the situation, that he might be packing it in come the summer. And whilst there's no doubt the heady days through 2015 and 2016, where he was often running at a strike rate of 20% plus in any given month are gone, things have maybe stabilised a bit.
The tipping point for me was the fact the yard couldn't get a win out of a very well handicapped Vaniteux last season, which given his mark, looked a certainty at some point. Whilst the lack of a true G1 stable star these days (since the retirement of the wonderful Dynaste, who has been hard to replace) is no doubt setting them back they are at least putting winners on the board each month and haven't drawn a blank since September 2017, something they are to be applauded for.
And yes, it does seem that they are now swapping quality for quantity (although not completely) in an effort to get the numbers back to something like where they were, but that in turn may well have a positive knock-on effect and he may get sent/pick up a G1/G2 horse again in the next 12 months. It's clear he still knows what he's doing and can train winners when he gets the ammunition, and pinning down why he's not had as many winners as perhaps he should have done is tricky when you don't know what's happening behind the scenes. But he has a couple of wealthy backers and as long as they continue to have winners (and Professor Tisdall looks like having her best season with him, numerically at least, this year) then he'll continue to do okay.
Charlie Longsden hasn't had the worst winter ever (is that down to the ground staying on the quick side? Maybe…) but he is better known as an autumn/spring trainer and yes, he does spend a fair bit on his horses, yet finds himself in a similar bracket to Pipe numbers wise. You can argue all day long his best horse, Hammersley Lake, isn't worth his mark (which is based mainly on his summer exploits) but he's a lovely stick that tries hard and is useful when he gets his conditions. Two yards that operate in different fashions, yet find themselves in more or less the same fishtank.
Of the three mentioned yesterday, one won (very well backed) and the other two both ran well,m which is encouraging with the Saturday Preview in mind! I'll be at Warwick today and my longshot for the day is Lucky's Dream in the 1.40. I really liked him a lot in the paddock at Ludlow last time and thought he ran a nice race to finish fifth. If he settles a bit better today then he's got chances of hitting the frame and I make him a bit shorter than the 40-1 that's around this morning.
Good luck with all your bets today,