1. Paul and Oliver Cole
This father and son team are taking advantage of the racing authorities’ introduction of dual licences last year, while also the former first took out his licence in 1968 and might not be expected in such a list. Cole Senior was champion trainer in 1991, when he saddled Generous to win the Derby, but he hadn’t legged up another Group winner from 2014 until last year, when Duke Of Hazzard followed up a Listed success, by a Group 3 win and the Group 2 Celebration Mile at Goodwood.
The stable smashed in six winners from 14 runners for an incredible 43 per cent strike rate and three other horses were also placed.
The re-arranged Lockinge Stakes could be a target for Duke Of Hazzard, while stablemate Highland Chief, (sixth of seven in the Royal Lodge Stakes at Newmarket in September) has been treated for ulcers and could be worth following when resumption targets are known.
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2. Keith Dalgleish
Keith Dalgleish might not be as lean as when he partnered two winners as a jockey at Royal Ascot, but his appetite for success as a trainer knows no abounds and he was operating at a very tasty strike rate of 19 per cent, before the lockdown.
While his overall tally of flat winners dropped to 73 in 2018, he enjoyed 86 victories the previous term and his average for the last four years is very reasonable at just over 80 winners.
What’s The Story was arguably the flagbearer last year who seems to love the Knavesmire winning the Hambleton Handicap at York’s May Meeting and the Clipper Logistics Handicap at its Ebor fixture.
But he’s certainly no mug with his juveniles either, as wins with Summer Daydream in the very valuable Redcar Two Year Old Trophy in 2018 and another event at York, the Rockingham Stakes, courtesy of Aberama Gold in October testify.
3. Charlie Fellowes
Every trainer needs a flagship horse and boy does Charlie Fellowes, who started training in 2014, have one in the shape of Prince Of Arran.
The Suffolk sorcerer may not have emulated another young trainer in Joseph O’Brien in actually winning ‘the race that stops a nation’, the Melbourne Cup, but he’s had a damned good go saddling the ‘Prince’ to finish third (subsequently promoted to second in 2019) for the last two seasons.
No doubt that race will be his target again, but slightly closer to home Fellowes has last year’s Listed Silver Tankard Stakes at Pontefract scorer King Carney entered in the Irish Derby, while Blow Your Horn could make a bid in the English equivalent for previous winning owner Anthony Oppenheimer.
King Ottokar, who was just done for second in the final strides of the Group 3 Hampton Court Stakes at Royal Ascot last June is another interesting older contender and could certainly make his presence felt in Pattern company as a stronger four-year-old in 2020.
4. Alan King
Wiltshire wizard ‘Kingy’ is better known for his exploits over jumps and of course landed the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham with the Ian Popham-ridden Annacotty in 2015.
But he also does extremely well with his Flat combatants and scooped both the Northumberland Plate with Who Dares Wins and the Old Rowley Cup with Trueshan last season.
He also appeared to have a major chance in the Britannia Handicap at Royal Ascot with Aweedram, but that fellow was withdrawn by the stewards after throwing pilot Andrea Atzeni off his back on the way to post.
Those wins as well as Primitivo’s success in the King George V Handicap at the same Royal extravaganza in 2016 and top owner Max McNeill’s Grumeti’s shock 50-1 win in Newmarket’s Cesarewitch the year before, mean any Barbury Castle representatives in big handicaps are well worth keeping onside.
5. Archie Watson
Lambourn-based Archie Watson only started training careerfour years’ ago, but already he has made a huge impact and has gained a bit of a reputation as a master with his two-year-olds.
He landed his first Royal Ascot winner when Soldier’s Call took the Windsor Castle Stakes in 2018 under a peach of a ride from Danny Tudhope and the same horse went on to win a Group 3 in France and then the Group 2 Flying Childers Stakes at Doncaster later in the campaign.
Band Practice was probably the pick of his juvenile crop last season, winning three on the bounce including a Listed heat at Chantilly in September. She was then last of 12 in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint, but Watson just being represented in Santa Anita was impressive.
He’s clearly upwardly mobile and that filly could do well in sprints this year. Always a trainer to keep on the right side at Kempton Park too (that resumes on Tuesday, June 02), where his strike rate is up there with John Gosden’s, Watson looks set to have another stellar season.