Trainer in Focus – David Evans
David Evans is a veteran of the racing game. Operating since 1988, he has trained over 1000 winners and whilst predominantly focusing on flat racing, he has also had success in the National Hunt sphere. Training in Wales, Evans is not afraid to let his horses run regularly, and while the bulk of his string are lower grade performers, he is certainly adept at training a good one, with high grade 2 year olds such as Anthem Alexander flying the flag in recent years. How do his runners do under different conditions? We find out.
2 Year Olds
Taking a look at David Evans 2 year old debutant runners, a clear pattern emerges;
2 Year Old Debutants By Month
*A/E denotes actual number of winners divided by expected number of winners. A figure over 1 represents good value, anything under 1 is poor value.
His runners in March/April are 17/129 (13.18%), producing a £35.65 LSP and giving an A/E of 1.70. They do poorly in May, and then have an anomalous month in June where Evans has had 4 big priced winners, giving a £90 LSP and a massive A/E of 5.35. From July onwards, the Welsh trainer’s 2 year olds are 0/57 with just 3 places (admittedly there were only 1.41 winners expected based on odds)
Evans likes to start off the year with sharp, cheap 2 year olds who know their job. He does really well in the early season races, but then when the more expensive, backwards horses come out later in the season he really struggles as the inexpensive purchases tend to get found out. He strikes while the iron is hot and is very profitable to follow in March/April.
When looking at the sex of Evans’ first time out 2 year olds, the results are intriguing:
He actually has more 2 year old female debutants than male. Although they have an average strike rate and a produce a fairly large loss to level stakes, they still win more often than they are entitled to based on odds. Most of Evans’ fillies start at big prices, but when they start at 10/1 or shorter, they become profitable; 7/32 (21.88%) with a further 9 places for £4.65 LSP, giving a LSP of £4.65 and an A/E of 1.62
Evans first time out males (both colts and geldings) do well and can win at big odds. Overall he is definitely a trainer to be respected with juveniles in the early season.
The Evans yard operate quite a high turnover policy. It is therefore no surprise to see him have a high number of runners in claimers, and in particular in 2 year old claimers. His results are also very positive; 25/148 (16.89%) for £35.38 LSP giving an A/E of 1.24
3 Year Olds
The yards that tend to have 3 year old debutants are generally those who are well financed and are able to allow their immature and backwards horse time to come to hand before sending them to the racecourse. As David Evans works on a small budget, it comes as no surprise to see that he only has a handful of 3 year old newcomers each year, with just 44 runners and 1 winner in the last 10 years.
There is no strong geographical bias in terms of the courses where David Evans does well and where he struggles:
3 Year Old+ Runners in Handicaps
It is no surprise that he does poorly at the major courses such as Newbury, Doncaster and York, as races at these tracks are by and large very competitive.
David Evans better horses have always tended to be sprinters, and his speciality of training the speedballs is borne out by the data:
3 Year Old+ Handicappers By Trip
They have a much better record over sprint trips, winning at higher percentages and giving better returns in the process.
The majority of Evans’ runners are lower grade animals. Although there are occasionally Class 7 races, the most common low grade contests are fought out in Class 6 company. Evans does well here:
3 Year Old + Handicappers By Race Class
In the grades above Class 6, Evans runners represent poor value in handicap company, but their performance picks up again right at the top level of handicap company (testament to the fact he can train talented horses)
Days Off The Track
As mentioned at the top of the article, David Evans likes to run his horses regularly. With lower grade performers, it is important to obtain as much prize money as possible to cover training costs. As the table shows, the vast majority of his horses are turned out within 4 weeks of their previous runs:
3 Year Old+ Handicappers (non-winners last time out)
His runners off for longer than 4 weeks have a poorer strike rate and A/E.
Evans has a solid overall strike rate with his National Hunt runners, but does particularly well in late spring to the summer:
National Hunt Runners By Month
The National Hunt ‘season’ finishes in April, and this is when Evans gets into gear. His runners from April-July are 27/165 (16.36%) for a £22.86 LSP, giving an A/E of 1.53. Post Cheltenham and Aintree summer jumping races are typically much weaker than the in-season fare, and knowing he cannot compete with the major yards over the winter, Evans wisely takes advantage of the less competitive contests when the big hitters are winding down and sending their horses out to the fields.
- David Evans 2 year old debutants do very well in March/April – he can ready sharp types.
- From July onwards, they are 0/57 with just 3 places, and are well worth avoiding for backing purposes.
- Evans male 2 year olds are particularly profitable, and his female debutants can be when they are fancied in the betting.
- He does well in 2 year old claimers.
- The Welshman’s 3 year old+ handicappers do well at Ayr, Windsor and Chester, but very poorly at Doncaster, Chelmsford City and York.
- He does better with sprinters (5/6f) performers – they offer much better betting value.
- When racing in Class 6, Evans runners are much better value than in Class 3-5.
- Evans does better with horses returning to the track relatively quickly (within 4 weeks)
- In April-July, Evans has a very solid strike rate under National Hunt rules, and is profitable.