This is something I wrote for a client sometime ago, seems a shame to waste it…
Johnston And Fahey Hit The Ground Running At First Meeting Of The Season On The Westwood
One of the many reasons why Mark Johnston and Richard Fahey are usually found in the top three of the Beverley Racecourse trainers table at the end of the season, is they both have their strings in fine order, come the third Wednesday in April.
Both trainers share 12 winners for the opening day of the season on the Westwood, that’s a 19% strike rate in the last seven first day fixtures.
Mark Johnston was in irresistible form on the opening day in 2013, firing in a treble for his legion of supporters. The Singspeil gelding, Aryal gallantly made all to take the three-year-old Handicap over 1m2f at 7/2 favourite, under jockey Neil Callan. The jockey completed his double on the well fancied Vine De Nada in the two-year-old Maiden Auction Stakes over five furlongs, while Liam Jones secured the three-timer for the Middleham handler, when Ambleside took the three-year-old handicap over one mile four furlongs at 5/1.
Richard Fahey has delivered a winner at this meeting for the last three years, including a double in 2014 as Justonefortheroad took the one mile half furlong seller, with Flycatcher taking the three-year-old, seven and half furlong handicap at 3/1, the second winner on the day for trainer and jockey, Tony Hamilton. The duo took the latter race 12 months later as Montefalcon headed the David O’Meara-trained Spryt inside the final furlong to win the 12-runner contest by a length at 3/1. Popular gelding Arctic Feeling won for the only time in a 12-race season at the Westwood’s curtain-raiser last season, taking the five furlong handicap by half length at 5/1.
The six Mark Johnston winners were aged two or three, had an SP no bigger than 5/1 and were in the top three in the betting. Following these three simple steps would have the Johnston strike rate up to a massive 46% from an original 22%.
Richard Faheys’ six opening day winners had similar profiles to Mark Johnston winners in being in the top three in the betting and had an SP no bigger than 5/1, taking the Malton trainers strike rate up to 32% from 16% following his runners.