Who’s hot and who’s not in the early part of the 2014 Flat season?

BDH is off and racing for the 2014 season!


First up a warm welcome from myself to the brand new BDH Website.

If you don’t already know then most of the BDH methodology from last season (Race Analysis Guides, BDH Squad…) will now be in the exclusive BDH Members Area.

Membership is at the very reasonable price of £97 for the season. If you are a member of the FREE BDH/NTF list then you will have already received a discounted offer of £90 via email. If you are not on that list but want to sign-up for the discounted rate then simply drop your email in the sign-up box below. When you download your free BDH guides (2014 BDH Handicap Sleepers – Mark Prescott mini-angle) there will also be a link to the discounted sign-up page for FREE list members.

There will still be more than enough for non-members on the FREE Blog section of BDH so don’t feel you will be completely left out if not joining in on the action in the exclusive members area 🙂

I want to start my first free Blog post of 2014 with a quick look back at the turf action from the early part of the season.

With the first month and a bit of the 2014 flat season now firmly in the form book it’s a great time to look at exactly who has their strings bouncing fit and firing in the winners and who has plenty room for improvement.

The first Classic of the season is ready to burst into action tomorrow at Newmarket (covered in-depth on my BDH Service) in the shape of the Qipco 2000 Guineas and whilst a number of yards will have been tuning their string in preparation for the two days on the Rowley Mile others have been scooping up the early season races with unerring regularity.

*Stats sourced from Proform Professional and only Turf races have been considered 

The main man on fire at present is Irish supremo DERMOT WELD.

His record this flat season so far makes for pretty impressive reading…

22 winners from 54 runners | 41% S/R (WOW!) | +£58.97 BFLSP – Win & Place 30/54 | 56% S/R

To say he has hit the ground running would be doing him a disservice!

Here are the areas he has really been firing…

  • He is 8/12 in Fillies races (67% S/R | +£20.37 BFLSP)
  • Pat Smullen has ridden 20 of the winners for a 45% S/R and a +£63.26 BFLSP
  • His runners coming off the back of a break of 150 days+ are 9/16 | 56% S/R | +£38.88 BFLSP
  • His 3-y-o string has hit the ground running – 17/37 | 46% S/R | +£54.28 BFLSP 

The early signs are that Weld is in for a decent season,


On this side of the Irish Sea it is Denton based MICHAEL DODS that has caught my eye.

He clearly doesn’t have quite the lofty profile that Weld has but that hasn’t stopped him firing in the winners…

9 winners from 30 runners | 30% S/R | +£40.52 BFLSP – Win & Place 16/30 | 53% S/R

He wouldn’t be a trainer that everyone is familiar with but he has his string in fine fettle at present.

Here are his hot-spots…

  • Jockey Paul Mulrennan is 6/11 | 55% S/R | +£40.95 BFLSP on Dods horses so far this season
  • Dods Newcastle runners have form figures of 214121
  • 7 of Dods’ 9 winners have come in Handicaps

There is no guarantee he will continue through May in a similar fashion but there is no doubt they are in rude health at present.


Whilst it is interesting to see who is ‘hot’ at the minute it may actually benefit us more to see who is running a bit ‘cold’.

There have been a couple of trainers who are yet to really kick into gear and it is perhaps them that we should pay the closest attention to.

It is unlikely the following two yards will continue to ‘misfire’ and we need to keep a close eye on them for when they start to click through the gears.

The first to catch my attention is ED DUNLOP.

He is yet to fire in a turf winner this season…

0 winners from 29 runners | 0% S/R | -£29.00 BFLSP – Win & Place 4/29 | 14% S/R

He is firing below expectations on the turf at present so they are a relevant set of figures.

If we look at the same time frame for Dunlop in the past three seasons we see Strike-Rates of 14%, 30% and 25%. Indeed by this time last year he had six turf winners on the board.

For whatever reason his string have rather spluttered there way through the start of this turf season.

I very much doubt the barren spell will last that much longer so it should pay for us to keep a close eye on things and specifically for some signs of life from the yard on the turf.

Here are two areas he has excelled at in recent seasons…

  • His Handicap runners on Good to Soft or worse ground have been worth following – 34/186 | 18% S/R | +£105.96 BFLSP – Win & Place 70/186 | 38% S/R
  • Paul Hanagan has an excellent record on his Turf Handicappers – 12/50 | 24% S/R | +£37.38 BFLSP


…and where we should be wary of his string…

  • His runners under-perform in Maiden’s – 28/402 | 7% S/R | -£253.86 BFLSP (Sheesh!!) – They are under-performing by some way as well, based on market expectations.
  • His runners making their racecourse debut are a rather pitiful 4/171 | 2% S/R | -£123.19 BFLSP – They are also performing a fair bit below expectation


I really don’t expect the Dunlop dry spell to continue and he should start hitting the mark with his turf runners before too long. Keep a close eye on those Handicap runners when there is a bit of juice in the ground and don’t get overly involved in his maiden runners unless you have a damn good reason to do so.


The other ‘cold’ trainer that caught my attention was none other than JOHNNY MURTAGH.

Murtagh blitzed into the training ranks last season as the Horse Racing version of Roy Of The Rovers! He recorded a rather impressive 16 winners from 106 runners, which lets be honest is pretty damn good for his first year in the training ranks. Interestingly TEN of those winners were ridden by Murtagh himself. This year of course he is fully concentrating on the training side of things, he can’t rely on himself to boot home the winners.

How is that playing out so far?

1 winner from 25 runners | 4% S/R | -£20.11 BFLSP – Win & Place 6/25 | 24% S/R

So far not so great.

Still it is early days for Murtagh in the trainers hot-seat and it may just take a while for the full shift to settle in. In some way it was probably easier riding the majority of them himself.

This season it is completely different and he has to rely on others to do the job for him. A job he excellent at over the past 10 to 15 years. I’m sure it will come though and once it clicks I suspect it will click in spectacular fashion.

It is worth keeping a close eye on Murtagh for when the winners start to roll in, I doubt it will be long before that happens and he could prove a reliable source of profits in the coming months.


It is well worth keeping an eye on the larger yards that haven’t quite hit top (or even first) gear yet. Punters will be put off by their lack of winners and that will then push their runners out to a larger price than they should be.

I wish everyone the best of luck in their Flat punting this summer and I hope you make regular visits to the FREE BDH Blog.

If you want to get in on the BDH Members Area action then click on the following link to join in the fun…

>>Join BDH for the 2014 Flat Season TODAY!


Ben (BDH)

With thanks to the Proform Professional Database

Proform Racing | The Professionals Form Database


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