How important is a trainer to your overall success in Racing? A short answer - Immensely!
Racehorses are bred with one key aspect in mind - Speed! They are not bred for temperament, looks - not even constitution. With a population inbred for this particular trait, you can imagine that we would encounter huge variations based on hereditary factors throwing traits equally not desired. A great example would be stallions such as Thunder Gulch, Woodman through Mr Prospector whom threw out gifted gallopers but often with ordinary legs (turned out off front legs). It was common to see very good gallopers from this line - however with limited racing careers.
The answer is you need a trainer that is astute enough to pick these issues early and prepare a horse's career to maximize its potential.
How to pick a suitable trainer ? Well this is not as clear as most would think. When I ask fellow owners what led them to their decision, they usually state the following, "I went with trainer X. He / She is a most famous and successful trainer whom has won X group races. My trainer holds an 18% winners strike rate and leads the Premiership!"
Sounds like a fair and sensible decision! However, I believe this strategy would not be the most ideal for the individual owner or investor in racing.
As i mention in a previous article 'Regals Landing Page', up to 80% of the top races are won by the Commercial Operations and high profile owners whom have made large investments into the industry. They have the exposure, power and earnt credit to ensure their investments are programmed and catered for from the start by the big name trainers. Racing is a Business and they are the breadwinners for many high profile trainers whom ensure this is returned with results. Where does the single owner/ syndicate share owner sit in this process?
Let me outline a couple of important statistics which I look for in a trainer:
1. Winners / Average Prizemoney to Owners.
Total number of individual owners the trainer had during a period analysed with the % owners which won at least one race. The average prizemoney gained by any particular owner racing with the particular trainer.
This quickly breaks down the trainer's ability to deliver result to the collective group racing with him/her.
2. Percentage of Owners (per galloper) winning over $85,000 in Prizemoney.
This allows us to gain an understanding of prizemoney spread between client pool.
3. Lastly, (although you need access to TRB database for this) - Average Prizemoney won / Average cost price of galloper raced (in a racing year)) x 100 to gain = +/- % profit.
This gives you an understanding of capability of trainer to deliver results nullifying quality of galloper.
This gives you a very good understanding of which Trainers are most capable and focused to towards Commercial Operations or towards the entire sum of owners collectively.
I hope you might find these statistics useful and apply them. Believe me, this knowledge alone may save you many thousands of dollars and greatly increase your chances of success!
Let me break this down into something more tangible. Here is an example:
Two trainers - 'X' and 'Y'
Trainer X sits between No.1 and No.2 on the State Training Premiership most years. He holds a 17% strike rate and has up to 120 horses in work at any time in his stables. In a racing year he/or she could have up to 300 horses going through the stables. Due to popularity, he has plenty of gallopers at his disposal. With this sort of flow/numbers, what type of horses do you think he will focus predominantly on? That's right, the young precocious ones. This makes sense. Horses that come to hand quicky and return results, earn their place to remain in the stable. The rest are moved on. This maintains the high strike rates and allows the flow of horses through the stable in relation to the highly valued boxes which is limited.
If you are not a Commercial Investor and have a horse that is immature and needs time, it is unlikely your galloper will have the opportunity to see it through to it's full potential.
Question: How many stayers have you seen raised from the age of 2 yrs by high profile trainers? You will find that almost all successful Classic distance horses trained by high profile trainers are Imports with all training and yards already put into them!
Trainer Y sits within the top 10 of the State premiership. He / She holds a 17% + strike rate and has up to 40 horses in work with up to 80 horses in a calendar year. This trainer is on the up but does not hold as great connections/fame. He/She makes ends meat through supporting a wide range of different owners and gallopers. He / She has a range of types - young sprinters, older stayers dealing with all the issues and idiosyncracies that each galloper possesses. However, he keeps a close eye on them, straps them up and prepares them to produce at their peak each and every race.
Which trainer would appeal most to you? Which trainer do you feel would provide greatest platform for your horse to reach its full potential?
Well let me answer on behalf of myself. In the past i have had a number of horses with trainers such as Gai Waterhouse. I was Sydney based and I did have some successful gallopers such as 'Party Crasher'. As a Syndicator, you would think it would make sense to send my gallopers to a high profile trainer? Plenty of visibilty and at least in the short term possibly much easier to sell up my shares due to the influence of the trainer.
However, for the reason as previously mentioned - I was looking for a trainer on the rise whom would provide the necessary focus on my thoroughbreds to maximise their potential for success. My goal is to win a Group 1. I want consistant results over the long term and hopefully grow with the trainer.
I was very keen on the data related to Trainer Henry Dwyer in Caulfied. A trainer on the rise, stationed at Caulfield. Very well respected with his owners and peers and also well known for being transparent and honest. Other assets include being well educated and a good Communicator.
I gained some assistance from a good friend to enable contact with Henry. I then visited his stables and looked over his operation. Henry is a very 'hands on' trainer with a good staff base behind him. His stables are maintained in great order. He also has a smaller operation in Ballarat whereby he effectively interchanges his runners in need for a change in scenery. I then went through to look at his feeding program for horses in work. Feeding regime was very much focused to each particular galloper - not just boosted protein supplements to drive the galloper forward in shortest period of time. Each horse is programmed and Henry is patient enough to see them through and persevere through to end goal. Henry is very focused and driven for success. In my opinion I could not find a better platform for my horses.
It did not take me long to decide what to do. I had a long chat with Henry and shared my vision and goals for my company. We agreed to join an alliance and I have transferred all my horses (and myself) to Melbourne.
In life, we all encounter opportunities which can change our life in a most significant way. Some are not simple changes but nevertheless we have choice to make them. This was one of these moments.
Regal Bloodstock now has the platform to deliver. Please feel free to share your thoughts and i hope that we may have a chance to catch up on Regal Bloodstock's , July 10th.