Andrew Mount highlights some of his ‘January Jumpers’ – horses that peak at this time of year, in addition to trainer trends that might be useful this month
Older GG readers might recall a horse called THE LEADER, who always used to win in January. Five of his six career wins came in this month, with the other in mid-December. He was the first ‘January Jumper’ I wrote about in my Trend Horses books, with the last of those five January wins coming in 2005. THE SAWYER was another favourite on this system. Bob Buckler’s chaser didn’t do much pre-New Year – failing to score from 20 starts in November or December – but he won six of his 12 starts in January when he’d had a recent outing (within 28 days), clocking a profit of £27.25 to a £1 level stake at SP (perhaps he was doing Dry January?), including six in a row from 2007-2010.
I’ve compiled a list of horses who have peaked at this time of year, mostly jumpers though I’ve thrown in a few all-weather Flat performers for good measure. ‘January all-weather performers’ just doesn’t have the same ring to it though.
ASK PADDY rattled off a hat-trick in February/March 2017 and won four from four when cheekpieces were fitted in January/February last year. He’s only been out once this term (without his usual headgear), so might need another run or two to put him right. His record over obstacles in January/February reads 451121111 (6-9), improving to 21111 (4-5) over fences only.
INSTANT REPLAY is 0-3 so far this season, but those runs came in October, November and December and are probably worth excusing. He won fourth time out in the 2017/2018 campaign, fifth time out in 2018/2019 and fourth time out last term, a victory that took his record in January to 1111 (4-4).
MERCIAN PRINCE was pulled up after being badly hampered by a faller at Wetherby on Boxing Day and might be one to side with next time. Amy Murphy’s ten-year-old has won three of his four completed starts in January – form figures of 1F117 (3-5) – and can be forgiven the seventh place as he went off too hard in first-time headgear.
NIGHT OF SIN took his record from March to December to 47772535713674F34P2 (1-19) when runner-up at Market Rasen the day before New Year’s Eve, with the win coming when the 5-6 favourite. Outside of that period, i.e in January or February, his record stands at 1191125 (4-7).
PETITE GANACHE was beaten by 20 lengths at Kelso in October and trailed home 38 lengths behind the winner at Doncaster the following month. However, he won his first start post-New Year in 2019 and again last year, suggesting that Nicky Richards’ nine-year-old could be worth chancing this month.
PISTOL is well into the veteran stage but he looked to retain his ability when third at Carlisle on November’s comeback and he could be worth siding with in the next couple of month. John Dixon’s 12-year-old has yet to win in January but has often run well, recording figures of 3254 (0-4), with the last three efforts at double-figure odds. More interesting is his record in February, which reads 15661112 (4-8) for a profit of £25.85.
ROMAIN DE SENAM was very impressive when scoring at Musselburgh on New Year’s Day and he could have more to offer this year despite the subsequent 10lb rise. His record over fences in January now reads 1511 (3-4.)
THE HERDS GARDEN returned to form with an 11-1 victory at Musselburgh last week, taking his record in January to 2U131 (2-5), with the other win at 9-1 and the placed efforts at 17-2 and 7-1. He may again reward each-way support if out again in the next few weeks.
WICKED WILLY tends to perform best in the second half of the jumps season and has form figures of 11133 (3-5) in January. He was well beaten in a selling hurdle at Leicester last month but could land a similar race if brought out again this month.
ALHAJJAJ was last seen finishing a 33-1 eighth of 13 in a 1m handicap at Dundalk on December 2nd but might do better at the same venue in the early months of 2021 (he’s entered in the 7.30 over the extended 1m2f trip on Friday January 8th). His record in January or February stands at 45101201 (3-8) for a profit of £33.75 to £1. The wins came on January 25th, February 15th and February 21st, so it’s possible that we might need to wait a few more weeks before he peaks.
KRAZY PAVING has had 23 starts from April to December, losing every time. However, he comes good in the New Year, recording form figures of 5722121671234411113 (7-17) from January to March for a profit of £31.38 to a £1 level stake at SP. All seven wins came over 6f. The nine-year-old has shown nothing in three starts this winter – the latest at Kempton on December 14th – and he might do better if he takes up his engagement at Chelmsford this Saturday (January 9th).
STAR ASCENDING usually struggles in the second half of the year, landing just one of his 23 all-weather starts from June to December, with that win coming back in December 2017. From January to May his all-weather score stands at ten wins from 31 starts for a profit of £32.17 to a £1 level stake at SP. When ridden by Joe Fanning those figures improve to seven from 19.
Sue Smith has made consistent profits in January for several years now, scoring with 55 of her 208 runners since 2014 (26.4% strike-rate) for a return of +£129.07 to a £1 level stake at SP. Catterick and Sedgefield are the two tracks that stand out, with 15 winners from 36 (41.7%, +£67.72) and 12 from 30 (40%, +£26.04) respectively.
Many trainers give their horses flu jabs over the Christmas period and their form can suffer in January as a result. Paul Nicholls still gets plenty of winners in this month, 110 from 589 runners since 2010, but backing them blind would have resulted in a loss of £179.02 to a £1 level stake at SP. However, they tend to be 100% for Trials Day at Cheltenham towards the end of the month and the yard had seven winners from 11 runners in the final few days of January last year. So far in 2021, they are 0-9.
Dan Skelton, a former assistant trainer to Paul Nicholls, is another whom it could pay to be wary of for the remainder of the month, especially on the big days. He’s saddled just six winners from 140 runners on Saturdays in January for a loss of £99.00 to a £1 level stake at SP. The expected numbers of winners, based on their odds, was 15.83.
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