Vanessa Ryle discusses horse racing's transfer season and highlights a trainer and a jockey who punters may want to keep on side...
"Brisland has quietly gone about his business in 2021 and it may have gone unnoticed that he has enjoyed his best season to date by quite some way."
The last few months of the year equates to 'transfer season' for trainers up and down the country. Reports from yearling and mares sales make plenty of headlines with big names spending big money. But for smaller trainers, without the benefit of bottomless pockets, it is October's Horses In Training sale where they get a chance to replenish stock.
Plenty of those who went through the ring in the autumn find themselves running for new yards by the end of the year on the all-weather and it is always interesting to see which trainers can reignite the flame of ability or who can bring out any pound of improvement that their previous trainers couldn't quite unlock.
Nothing gets past Prescott
Naturally some trainers are notoriously tricky to buy from. For example, prior to this year's Tattersalls Horses in Training sale and since 2018, five horses had gone through the ring from Sir Mark Prescott's yard and been sold to race for new connections. Not one of them had gone on to win a single race which shows Prescott is far too shrewd to leave a win on the table for another trainer.
This year at the Horses In Training sale there were three horses sold from Heath House, all four-year-olds, one of which was Animal Instinct who is now in training with Ian Williams - he might have a tough task on his hands to break pattern and win with an ex Heath House horse!
Of course there are a number of trainers who have a huge amount of success with horses bought out of the Horses In Training sales. Mick Appleby, Denis Hogan and Mark Loughnane have all shopped shrewdly at the sale and enjoyed the results on the race course.
Brisland's aim is spot on
Robyn Brisland, who has entries at Chelmsford on Thursday, recently acquired Shoot To Kill from George Scott at the sale for 28,000gns. The Dandy Man four-year-old had managed to win a couple of races for Scott but seemed to have gone off the boil in his last few runs for the team. Brisland didn't pick him up as a particularly well handicapped horse but since the yard change, Shoot To Kill has gone on to win his next two starts at Lingfield and Wolverhampton and, despite the fact he will now be off a career high mark, he still looks a horse to keep on the right side of on the All Weather this winter
Power Over Me is another advert for Brisland's skills when inheriting horses from other yards. The 6f specialist failed to place in three starts in Ireland in 2020 but managed to win his first three starts for the team earlier this year and went on to win five of his nine starts in the last 12 months. That tally should read six from nine but for being disqualified at Epsom after winning the Class 3 handicap off 90 only to be chucked out for weighing in light.
He has climbed from an opening mark of 59 to now 95 and if his improvement continues as a five-year-old next year then you would expect to see him continue to make a name for himself in the sprinting ranks.
Brisland has quietly gone about his business in 2021 and it may have gone unnoticed that he has enjoyed his best season to date by quite some way.
In 2020, he trained 21 winners, whereas in 2021 he has notched up 36 winners. He increased his runners throughout the year by 39% in comparison to 2020 but he increased his winners by a huge 70%.
Even allowing for the few weeks where racing wasn't allowed to take place in 2020 due to Covid restrictions, there has still been a significant improvement in the yard's form and numbers.
Keep an eye on Winn
Jockey Mark Winn enjoyed the first success of his career at Wolverhampton recently where he rode Inexplicable to victory in the Hands and Heels Apprentice race. The 7lb claimer had been based with Charlie Hills earlier this year but has recently made the move up to Yorkshire and is now under the watchful eye of David O'Meara.
Jockey coach George Baker was on hand at Wolverhampton and was full of praise for Winn who looked tidy in the finish and was impressively able to communicate his thoughts in his post-race interview. He may well be an apprentice to keep an eye out for next year and no doubt his 7lbs will be used shrewdly by the O'Meara team who themselves have a healthy 33% strike rate currently and the in-form Jason Watson flying in the saddle too.
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