Sometimes you make a casual observation as you watch racing and pull yourself up (no pun intended) and tell yourself it’s just your imagination. One such observation that grabbed me today was that Godolphin seem to have a disproportionate number of dogs in their yard, or to put it more sympathetically horses that simply don’t know how to race in a manner that optimises their energy consumption. I am talking about pullers, those horses that race so keenly or awkwardly that once the gates open you know you have done your money.
I decided to test whether my eyes were simply playing tricks or perhaps my pocket was the guilty trickster. I ran a test on those horses that ran keenly or pulled hard and then examined all trainers with at least 2,000 runners (pullers or otherwise) in the sample period. Well it seems the old eyes are not as easily deceived as I thought. Surroor has a pulling rate of 7.61% this is bettered only at 7.65% by Clive Cox and J R Best at 7.66% amongst 80 trainers. The best at getting their horses to settle was A Berry at 1.53%. My instincts were telling me that Mark Johnstone generally has his horses well behaved during their races and this held out from the sample with only 2.51% pullers. Given that he does not train sprinters generally that’s a pretty good score. If I was sending a horse to a trainer then information like this would be one deciding factor on where I would house my horse.