Five trainers to put you in profit in July…

Mark Johnston; firing 3yo bullets left, right and centre!

Three-year-old’s; they can be a tricky bunch to get to grips with at the best of times. None more so than when entering handicap company.

In the human world you have the terrible two’s and then, so I’m led to believe, the ‘Magic Years’. I guess that also relates to the racing world as well. Never again will a trainer have a less exposed/talents-well-hidden-beast on his hands than when they are a three-year-old. They even have the bonus, if they so wish, of sticking them in against their elders and receiving the lavish treat of the weight for age allowance. In other words the ‘Magic Years’.

As we stumble through the ‘heat-wave’ into July we are likely to see more and more three-year-old’s taking on their elders in the handicap sphere as well as some skilfully covered up youngsters beaten their own age group in three-year-old only handicaps, showing a wealth of vastly improved form from what they’ve already posted on their CV.

It’s not all cloak and dagger stuff of course, sometimes its just certain horses taking longer to find themselves and maturing at different rates or trainers taking their time with their charges, allowing them to develop naturally instead of gunning them for all they are worth at the start of their careers.

Naturally some trainers excel with that approach more than others (“yes Mr Prescott I am talking about you, now sit back down and finish that cigar please”) and in today’s post I want to look at a bunch of trainers who in recent season’s have become masters of landing handicap pots/plots with their three-year-old’s during the month of July, whether that be in open handicap company or indeed sticking within their own age bracket.

I’ve kept this fairly simple so you should, if you so wish, be able to follow these trainers with relate ease throughout the month.

As always I’m using my trusted Proform software and I’m looking at three-year-old’s in handicaps during the month of July from the past six seasons.

For the record I’ve decided to omit the master rule bender Sir Mark Prescott from this post as if you’ve been following BDH for any length of time you should have the following guide already at your disposal…

>>>Three is the Magic Number

Prescott is already showing a minor profit from nine qualifiers on that angle so far this term and I expect him to start cranking things up even further from here on in.

So no Prescott in today’s post and it’s time to put the focus on a few others…

Three-Year-Old Handicap Masters – July


Mark Johnston – The Numbers Guy

When it comes to sheer volume of runners/winners with these types at this stage of the season no-one can touch old braveheart.

His six year figures read…

106/583 | 19% S/R | +£53.74 BFSP – Win & Place 209/583 | 37% S/R

15% above expectations

It’s impressive that he manages to turn a profit with so many bullets being fired and this sub-set of his string are actually running at 15% above expectations.

It is, however, a rather large number of runners for us punters to deal with (around 97 qualifiers each July) so it’s worth stripping the bare figures down into a more manageable junk.

If we take the bare figures and look at those runners that were in the top four in the weights AND in the top 3 in the market we get…

52/152 | 34% S/R | +£56.51 BFSP – Win & Place 77/152 | 51% S/R

23% above expectations

To tighten that up even further we can look at only those runners that front ran or ran close to the pace, essentially ignoring those that ran held up.

That gives us…

49/132 | 37% S/R | +£65.55 BFSP – Win & Place 71/132 | 54% S/R

30% Above expectations

I use Proform to determine the likely running style of any given horse (as well as some of my own notes) although you can determine the likely running style of any horse by looking at it’s recent performances using any of the freely available form-books out there.

The running style filter can be a tricky one as styles can change from race to race and it wouldn’t usually be a filter I would implement in an angle such as this…except when it comes to Mark Johnston! Through my many years of research I keep noticing that Mark Johnston’s hold-up runners seriously under-perform and most Johnston angles I follow tend to have this filter attached (not hold-up runners). It’s a bit of an added complication but hey, it’s Mark Johnston, he aint the most straightforward of trainers to pull apart in the analysis stakes!!

M Johnston July 3yo handicapper angle – Top 4 in weights | Top 3 in market | Not Hold-Up runners

Now I know what you are thinking “hold up Ben you said these angles would be easy!?“. Well I promise you they will become easier, I just had to get Johnston out of the way first. His sheer number of winners meant I simply had to include him but, as already mentioned, he isn’t the easiest trainer to pick apart from an analysis perspective (and trust me, I’ve tried plenty of times!!).

From now on in the angles applied to the trainers in question will become a bit more straightforward.

Starting with…


Roger Charlton – The Targeted Approach

Charlton is a bit more selective with his three-year-old handicappers in July but it is an approach that very much pays dividends…

21/76 | 28% S/R | +£40.83 BFSP – Win & Place 32/76 | 42% S/R

29% above expectations

With an almost 30% strike-rate and over 40 points profit to level stakes Charlton is clearly a man we want on our side when following this angle.

We can, however, tighten those bare figures up plenty by only concentrating on his runners over trips shorter than 1m4f…

20/63 | 32% S/R | +£51.14 BFSP – Win & Place 28/63 | 44% S/R

44% above expectations

At this stage of their careers Charlton seems more adept at placing his 3yo handicappers over the sprint to mid-distance trips whilst his runners over the staying trips don’t quite fire as sweetly.

R Charlton July 3yo handicapper angle – Distances shorter than 1m4f


Andrew Balding – The Punters Pal

Andrew balding not only fires in plenty winners with his 3yo handicappers he also pulls in a super healthy profit…

34/170 | 20% S/R | +£105.42 BFLSP – Win & Place 71/170 | 42% S/R

43% above expectations

Those are extremely likeable figures for the classic winning trainer although maybe a little bit high on the qualifiers front for some.

As always, however, we can dig just a little bit deeper and sharpen things up, this time by looking at only his runners that return within 40 days of their last run…

33/149 | 22% S/R | +£122.38 BFLSP – Win & Place 64/149 | 43% S/R

53% above expectations

That’s a slightly easier chunk to manage and it’s an angle that has produced solid profits in each of the last six seasons.

A Balding July 3yo handicapper angle – Running within 40 days of their last start


Luca Cumani – The Lefty Italian

It’s not unknown for Cumani to plot up a horse or two and the bare figures for his 3yo July handicappers certainly back that up…

24/92 | 26% S/R | +£20.89 BFLSP – Win & Place 39/92 | 42% S/R

20% above expectations

It’s far from unusual to see a Cumani youngster improve in leaps and bounds at this stage of it’s career and although the profits on this angle aren’t exceptional they do tick away sweetly enough.

Again we can tighten the screw a little more with one simple filter. If we only look at his runners on left-handed tracks we get a significant spike with regards to strike-rates…

16/47 | 34% S/R | +£25.68 BFLSP – Win & Place 22/47 | 47% S/R

44% above expectations

The left/right handed track bias, when looking specifically at trainers, is not something that is all that easy to explain BUT it appears in my research numerous times and personal I do think it’s a worthwhile filter to consider.

What could be the reasons for this bias? It could well be any number of reasons in truth (the list is as long as my arm) but my thinking is, and without knowing each yard personally and seeing them at work day in and day out, that it relates to something that is either being done at home with their training regime or the trainer is more prone to preparing a runner for certain tracks and they so happen to fall into the left-hand zone (i.e. he or she feels that Newbury, York and Doncaster are more suitable for this sub-set of their string than, say, Sandown, Goodwood or Ascot).

It’s not easy to pinpoint exacts all the time when looking at trends and stats but sometimes you don’t need to know exactly WHY something is happening, you just need to know that it IS happening. It’s good to know WHY but it’s not always imperative, despite what some may tell you.

L Cumani July 3yo handicapper angle – Left-Handed tracks only


Chris Wall – The Sneaky One

Chris Wall is certainly less high profile than the other four trainers on the list but his figures are none the less impressive…

13/53 | 25% S/R | +£41.66 BFLSP – Win & Place 26/53 | 49% S/R

38% above expectations

Wall is a solid, under the radar type trainer but he’s one that knows how to get winners and knows how to target his horses to the best of their abilities. I have a few angles on my database relating to the Newmarket based trainer and he is a consistent source of profits if you take the time to get to know him.

We could in theory leave the Wall 3yo July handicappers as they are, however, I’m a sucker for a bit more tighten up of angles so lets dig deeper.

If we take the bare figures and look at only those returning off a break of 21 days or more and running over distances less than 1m4f we get…

11/37 | 30% S/R | +£50.07 BFSP – Win & Place 20/37 | 54% S/R

87% above expectations

You don’t get many qualifiers a season from Wall but he knows what he is doing and he rarely wastes bullets; it’s well worth waiting for him to take his laser targeted shots.

C Wall July 3yo handicapper angle – A break of 21 days or more | A distance shorter than 1m4f


And that’s your lot; Five trainers to put you in profit during July.

Well six if you include that sly old fox Sir Mark Prescott!

The Prescott angle actually has a couple of qualifiers today so it’s definitely worth your while download the FREE guide above.

And if you want more FREE BDH/NTF guides



Happy Punting

Ben (BDH)



  • Philip Clayton

    Reply Reply July 1, 2015

    Dear Ben,
    I alway find these kind of analyses interesting to read and the punting industry is full of them. However there is always a simple stumbling block to employing them, namely that it is not unusual for every single one of these trainers to be represented in the same race.

    The other problem is that they only work if you are prepared to bet reasonably large sums ‘blindly’ on a large number of animals with consequently quite hefty losing runs. You need a fairly substantial ‘bank’ to consider doing this.


    • Ben

      Reply Reply July 1, 2015

      Hi Philip

      Many thanks for the comment.

      I never find having to bet multiple runners in a race a problem myself, in fact I generally back more than one runner in any given handicap.

      I disagree you have to bet large sums of money to make it work. It all dependant on what each individual is comfortable with. I would very much recommend level stakes backing if following the angles but it doesn’t have to be large stakes. I like to think my articles cater for all level of punters and it wouldn’t matter if you were backing the above to £2, £20 or £200.

      Even if you are only a casual small time punter who loves racing but only dips into the betting side gently you could just choose to follow 1 or 2 of the angles above without having to have your full betting bank concentrating on all the above angles.

      Best regards

      Ben (BDH)

  • Mike Platt

    Reply Reply July 2, 2015

    Thanks, a very good day one Ben. I also like any Mark Johnston ‘up in trip’
    Regards Mike

    • Ben

      Reply Reply July 2, 2015

      Yeah, good start to the month Mike.

      The good thing about Mark Johnston sending so many runners to the track is that it gives you plenty data to work with. Up in trip certainly something to look into, especially with his handicappers.

      Cheers – Ben (BDH)

  • ant

    Reply Reply July 4, 2015

    I like this approach..just a question are you advising the tips in 3yo hcap races or any hcap where one of the listed trainers has a 3yo runner..both seem to work well

    • Ben

      Reply Reply July 5, 2015

      Hi Ant

      The stats are looking at any handicap where the trainer has a 3yo runner. 3yo handicaps AND open aged handicaps are both included.

      Cheers – Ben (BDH)

  • Mike Platt

    Reply Reply July 5, 2015

    Ben I’m not able to log into the members part of your site. I’ve been away for some time

    • Ben

      Reply Reply July 6, 2015

      Hi Mike

      Dropped you an email.

      Cheers – Ben (BDH)

  • Ian

    Reply Reply July 10, 2015

    Hi Ben,

    Great stuff as always. What would you recommend as a good free formbook? Also any suggestions on a quick way to find selections without using a fee paying service

    • Ben

      Reply Reply July 13, 2015

      Thanks Ian

      Off the top of my head I must admit I don’t know a quick way to find the selections without using a database, unfortunately.

      As for a free form book Matt at GeeGeez has just made his Racecards free and there is plenty of detail included there, out with the standard racecards, and can to a certain extent be used as a form book…

      Grab them here >> Free Geegeez Gold features every day

      You will need to register a free account however.

      In fairness I still also quite like the RacingPost form books as well,they do a fine enough job for the basics in my opinion.

      Hope that helps.

      Cheers – Ben (BDH)

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