Home / News / Tipster Blogs / Andrew Mount’s Myth Busters – Should We Expect Business As Usual When A Stable Is Taken Over By A Family Member?

Tipster Blogs

Andrew Mount’s Myth Busters – Should We Expect Business As Usual When A Stable Is Taken Over By A Family Member?

Nowadays, we often see more than one name on a training licence – John & Thady Gosden for example – as a prelude to the younger member of the family taking over in their own right but will this change affect the way the yard operates, or will it be business as usual? My Proform database features hundreds of systems that are based on a yard’s modus operandi, but should I scrap these when the name on the licence changes or carry on betting the qualifiers?

Bookmakers not found
Claim Bonus Signup Offer Get £30 matched Free Bet if your first Acca loses
30+ Sports To Bet On
Claim Bonus
10 Our Score
Excellent Review

My initial instinct was to expect business as usual, simply re-naming my systems. The ‘Mick Channon autumn angle’ became the ‘Jack Channon autumn angle’, Mark Johnston Newmarket summer handicappers’ became ‘Charlie Johnston Newmarket summer handicappers’ and ‘Roger Charlton turf handicappers in first-time cheekpieces’ became ‘Harry Charlton turf handicappers in first-time cheekpieces. My thought process was as follows – the person taking over the licence had probably been heavily involved in the setup for years already and the individual stepping aside wouldn’t retire immediately but would still be in the background to oversee the change, so it was more a cosmetic change than a shift in the yard’s methods. 

However, I’ve noticed recently that some of my trusty Mark Johnston systems that made consistent profits are struggling since his son Charlie took over the licence, which prompted me to look at the yard in more detail. Johnston senior had a well-deserved reputation for asking his jockeys to make the running which, generally speaking, is a good idea. There are some tracks where making the running is not a good idea (e.g. on the round course at Newcastle and Doncaster) but, as a general rule, front-runners win more races than prominent racers who in turn win more races than hold up horses.

Bookmakers not found
Claim Bonus Signup Offer Get £30 matched Free Bet if your first Acca loses
30+ Sports To Bet On
Claim Bonus
10 Our Score
Excellent Review

Here’s the breakdown in Britain and Ireland (Flat and jumps combined) since the beginning of 2023, using the Proform abbreviations L (led), P (prominent) and H (held up)…

A screenshot of a computer screen

Description automatically generated

Front-runners (L) won 19.14% of their races and made a profit at SP (+19.54% on turnover), prominent racers (e.g. tracked/chased leader) weighed in with a 13.22% strike-rate (-15.37% on turnover) whereas horses ridden patiently won only 6.47% of their starts and lost 45.60% on turnover. For information, the 163 horses who weren’t allotted a running style for a particular race probably refused to race or were unseated at the start.

For the last ten seasons of his training career (2013-2022) Mark Johnston’s front-runners enjoyed plenty of success (22.15% strike-rate) and made a profit at SP. In total, 4100 of his 13,919 runners cut out the early pace (29.46%) of the total..

A screenshot of a computer

Description automatically generated

Charlie Johnston took over the licence at the beginning of last year and he too does well with pacesetters, scoring with 100 of the 528 such runners (18.94%). In total, 528 if his 1799 runner went from the front, a remarkably similar percentage (29.35%) to his Dad’s 29.46%. However, if we split his front-running turf runners by month we can see a big drop-off this year, with far fewer putting pace to the race…

A screenshot of a computer screen

Description automatically generated

For example, in May, only two of his 30 turf runners made the running and in June it was just five from 40 (11.9%) compared to 16 from 51 (31.37%) in June of last year. Is this a statistical blip or is it a permanent change to the yard’s previous modus operandi. Perhaps the days of assuming that the Johnston horse will put pace to the race are over? This change has been reflected in one of the betting systems I mentioned at the beginning of this article – blindly backing the yard’s handicappers at Newmarket – where both tracks favour early pace – produced consistent profits in the Mark Johnston era but so far this summer the score is 0-9 and it will be fascinating to see how they fare at the three-day July festival.

John Gosden’s name still appears on the licence next to his son Thady, but this is another yard that is losing its air of invincibility, with a strike-rate of only 10.29% in Class 1 races in Britain/Ireland this year, compared to a high of 26.52% in 2018…

A screenshot of a computer screen

Description automatically generated

…there could be plenty of other factors at play here rather than just personnel, but the betting market is slow to react to these changes and it’s worth monitoring with a view to opposing their horses, who might be priced up on John Gosden’s previous reputation rather than the current situation.

Bookmakers not found
Claim Bonus Signup Offer Get £30 matched Free Bet if your first Acca loses
30+ Sports To Bet On
Claim Bonus
10 Our Score
Excellent Review


Looking For More Racing Info? Check Out Our Racecards & Top Tips Sections

Today’s Racecards

Today’s Top Tips


Make sure you’re following us on all our social media platforms to keep up to date with all the latest horse racing news and the best tips.