Trainer in Focus – Sir Michael Stoute
Sir Michael Stoute is one of the veterans of the racing game. With a training career that started in 1972 and has spanned 5 decades, the 10 times champion trainer has forgotten more than most know about racing. Well backed and wealthy in his own right, Stoute has trained endless group horses and has won 25 Classics in England and Ireland. In this article we take a look at how Stoute’s runners perform under a variety of conditions, identifying any performance biases in the process.
2 Year Olds
For such as talented trainer, he does not have the best strike rate with 2 year olds, particularly in the early months of the season:
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.
Stoute tends to train backwards horses who get better with age, and therefore it is no surprise to see he hasn’t had a 2 year old runner before May in the last 10 years. In May-June, his horses are 1/36 when making their debut, and their performance from July-September, whilst acceptable in terms of strike rate, falls below market expectations, as the A/E for all of these months is well below 1.00
In October, the strike rate of his 2 year old debutants improves significantly to 15.70%, and the A/E is also positive at 1.24. At this time of year, Stoute tends to bring out his classy recruits who are potentials for the Classic races the following season, giving them racecourse experience before a winter break. When they are fancied in the market (first 3 in the betting), their record is fantastic; 17/59 (28.81%) for £28.48 LSP, giving an A/E of 1.54
Following on in November, the Newmarket trainer’s really backward horses tend to come out and his win record is very poor – just 1 winner from 49 runners.
While Stoute’s first time out 2 year olds are far from prolific, the same cannot be said once they have had a run under their belt. When his horses did not win on debut, they are 68/242 (28.10%) at the second time of asking. Below the table shows how the performance varies by the break his runners are given between races:
2nd Time Out 2 Year Olds (did not win on debut)
Those off for 15-21 days have an absolutely fantastic record of 29/72 (49.28%) for £7.11 LSP, giving an A/E of 1.23. 38 of those runners started favourite, and scored at a massive 60% win rate. They really seem to learn an awful lot from their debut runs and should always be respected second time out.
Some trainers excel with 2 year old debutants over a particular distance. For instance, Richard Fahey is a wizard with juveniles over 5f. Looking at Stoute’s record:
2 Year Old Debutants By Distance
The vast majority of his runners make their debut over 7f. There are plenty of these races in October, as the longer distances become available to the 2 year olds as the season progresses. He does much the best over 7f, and again, this is where his good ones are likely to be introduced. The strike rate dips over 8f and the A/E is also poor – this is likely to be where Stoute runs his horses who will turn into real stayers as 3 year olds.
3 Year Olds
With Sir Michael Stoute’s powerful connections and resources, he is able to give his immature and backwards horses plenty of time to find their feet before they are sent racing. As such, he has had plenty of 3 year old debutants in the last 10 years, with results of 26/249 (10.44%) for loss of £-99.64, giving an A/E of 0.83 – again fairly moderate. Stoute doesn’t put the gun to his horses head at home, and views them as longer term projects, so winning at the first time of asking, is not essential.
The success of Stoute’s second time out 3 year olds really depends on their market position:
2nd Time Out 3 Year Olds (did not win on debut)
Those who are market leaders win at a very high percentage, and win just about as often as they should based on odds. However, his runners who are not favourite, have a moderate strike rate, produce a big loss and a poor A/E.
There is perhaps a reason why those runners that aren’t fancied in the betting don’t do brilliantly – handicap marks. Stoute is a veteran and knows the importance of getting his runners well handicapped, and therefore he will often want three ‘quiet’ runs to get a favourable rating. His thrice raced horses switching from maiden to handicap company are 28/127 (22.05%) for £20.03 LSP, A/E 1.24, providing good value.
3 Year Old+ Handicappers
Sir Michael Stoute’s handicappers’ performance varies depending on how long they have been off the track. Those who return relatively quickly when they did not win last time out, do not have a great record:
3 Year Old+ Handicappers (did not win last time out)
His runners off for 3 weeks or less are just 44/347 (12.68%) for a loss of £-142.19, giving an A/E of 0.75, representing poor value in the process. Those who have had a break off the track (22-120 days) do very well; 107/547 (19.56%) for £84.40 LSP, giving an A/E of 1.16 and those likely to be making their seasonal return have just a modest record; 19/129 (14.73%) for loss of £-36.97 for an A/E of 0.85.
Top Class Performers
Stoute churns out a plethora of high class performers each year, and these talented equine performers are often treated with kid gloves given their potential to win big pots and possible future stud value. Are there any biases in his performance with Class 1 runners?
His horses who run over longer trips clearly do much better than the sprinters and runners up to a mile. The win percentage is better, as is the profit and importantly the A/E. Stoute’s Class 1 animals running at a mile or shorter should be treated with a bit of caution.
Time Of Year
While his runners generally improve as the season progresses, May is the time where Stoute fires with his Class 1 runners:
A strike rate of over 30% and a very solid A/E of 1.23 is nothing to be sniffed at. In May there is the Guineas meeting at Newmarket and the Dante meeting at York, both with a host of Class 1 races. His runners should be respected in events at the two courses.
Days Off The Track
In the top grade races, Stoute does much better when he gives his horses a rest between races:
Those off for over 4 weeks have a higher win rate, produce much better profit figures and have a significantly higher A/E than the runners off 4 weeks or less.
- Stoute’s 2 year old debutants do very poorly in May-June, moderately over the summer, before firing in October. They then struggle in November-December.
- His second time out 2 year olds have a high win percentage and do especially well when returning to the track within 15-21 days of their debut effort.
- 7f is the distance where his juvenile newcomers do best at.
- Stoute’s 3 year old debutants have a slightly below average record on debut. Their success at the second time of asking depends on their market position – if favourite they win about as often as they should, but if lower in the betting, their record is poor and they make solid laying opportunities.
- His 3 year old maiden to handicap switchers are profitable and can be well treated.
- Handicappers do best off a break of between 22-120 days. Quick returners do relatively poorly.
- Class 1 animals have a much better record over further than a mile, than they do over the shorter trips.
- He does best in May in the high class races.
- Horses returning from a 4+ week absence offer better value and win more regularly than those returning sooner.