Measuring Training Yard Success: Impact Values from Maiden, Handicap & Pattern Races


The champion trainer for the season is decided using total prize money earned. This measure favours the very largest training yards, particularly those that have access to the offspring of top stallions.  As a result it is somewhat unsatisfactory measure of training yard success. Since Impact Values (IVs) correct for yard size by taking into account the number of runners as well as number of winners,  the playing field between yards of differing sizes is, to a good degree, made level when this measure is used. Whilst there are also limitations with using this measure across all races and for all trainers, the net is cast wider.  In this blog post IVs for different categories of race, namely maidens, handicaps and pattern races, are calculated, both raw and adjusted for Sire IVs (SA), then combined to produce a composite IV measure. Measuring IVs in different race categories enables a more complete picture of training yard success to be built. A by-product of the approach used is that trainers whose results are most and least influenced by the success of particular stallions can be identified.

Data & Methodology

The analysis that underpins this piece was carried out in the R statistical environment accessing Raceform Interactive data for the 2012 flat season. The R code is posted elsewhere for interested readers. To qualify for inclusion in the tables that follow, a training yard must have sent out at least 50 runners in handicaps and 100 runners in total over the course of the 2012 flat season, and be based in Great Britain (GB). A total of 139 yards met this criteria. These yards were then split into 2 groups according to how many different horses had been raced – 66 yards raced at least 40 different horses and are the focus of the analysis in this blog piece. The other 73 yards, smaller in size, were analysed separately and may be the subject of a further blog post. Since we know that on average larger yards deliver higher IVs than smaller yards (see my earlier blog post on this subject) smaller yards that perform well may not have appeared in the listings reported below and it is more appropriate to analyse their results separately.

Impact Values – Maidens

Maiden race IVs are likely to favour large yards with access to potential pattern class horses. Table 1 shows the top 10 yards ranked by sire adjusted IV in maidens. Raw IVs are also reported. Note the dominance of the Richard Hannon yard and the small difference between raw and sire adjusted IVs compared with the larger differences between IVs for Saeed bin Suroor and William Haggas. The large number of horses at the Hannon’s yard appears to confer a substantial advantage in being able to place horses to good effect within maidens. The same comments apply to Richard Fahey’s results. In both yards the large number of horses at their disposal appears to outweigh any advantage given to other yards via ostensibly better bred horses.

Rank Trainer wins runs IV raw IV SA
1 Mrs K Burke 14 49 2.70 3.02
2 Saeed bin Suroor 33 121 2.58 1.93
3 Peter Chapple-Hyam 14 68 1.95 1.81
4 William Haggas 42 182 2.18 1.73
5 Henry Candy 9 63 1.35 1.63
6 Richard Hannon 82 471 1.64 1.58
7 Jeremy Noseda 18 98 1.74 1.57
8 John Quinn 7 39 1.70 1.55
9 Richard Fahey 35 225 1.47 1.49
10 David Simcock 20 108 1.75 1.42

Table 1: Top 10 training yards by Sire adjusted IV in maidens

Impact Values – Handicaps

Table 2 shows the top 10 yards ranked by Sire adjusted IV in handicaps. Raw IVs are also reported. Sir Mark Prescott Bt tops the table, although in common with the majority of the trainers in the top 10 his Sire adjusted IV is substantially lower than his raw IV. Noteworthy are the results of Chris Wall and Michael Appleby, whose IVs are hardly affected by the relative success of the sires of their horses in training. Part of this result is due to their lack of relative success in maidens, suggesting their horses are likely to be highly competitive when they move out of maidens  into handicap company – Chris Wall’s IV in maidens was 0.43, whilst Michael Appelby sent out no maiden winners in 2012. In contrast Sir Mark Prescott Bt, along with 6 other trainers, delivered IVs above 1 in both maiden and handicap company. The other 6 were Marcus Tregoning, Luca Cumani, Sir Michael Stoute, Ed Dunlop, James Fanshawe, Roger Varian and Mick Channon.

Rank Trainer wins runs IV raw IV SA
1 Sir Mark Prescott Bt 31 131 2.45 1.98
2 Marcus Tregoning 16 83 1.99 1.88
3 Sir Michael Stoute 25 115 2.25 1.83
4 Luca Cumani 24 129 1.92 1.75
5 Chris Wall 18 104 1.79 1.74
6 Roger Varian 28 155 1.87 1.61
7 Peter Chapple-Hyam 10 63 1.64 1.53
8 William Haggas 30 166 1.87 1.52
9 Michael Appleby 24 162 1.53 1.52
10 Tom Dascombe 33 211 1.62 1.51

Table 2: Top 10 training yards by Sire adjusted IV in handicaps

Impact Values – Pattern Races

Table 3 shows the top 20 yards ranked by Sire adjusted IV in pattern races. Raw IVs are also reported. The results are more difficult to interpret than maidens and handicaps for individual trainers because of small sample sizes. The Richard Hannon and John Gosden yards dominate the table in terms of number of winners and runners, however the Sire adjusted IVs for both trainers are noticeably  lower than their raw IVs. It is possible this  result is an artefact created by their substantial relative success in producing pattern class winners during the 2012 flat season. A number of yards that perform well on the IV measure in maiden company do not appear in the table below.

Rank Trainer wins runs IV raw IV SA
1 Ann Duffield 2 4 4.47 6.12
2 Alan McCabe 1 5 1.79 2.92
3 David Simcock 2 14 1.28 2.05
4 Sir Henry Cecil 16 60 2.39 1.89
5 David O’Meara 4 20 1.79 1.89
6 Roger Charlton 10 46 1.94 1.84
7 David Barron 2 13 1.38 1.58
8 Roger Varian 9 52 1.55 1.56
9 Sir Michael Stoute 6 41 1.31 1.42
10 Richard Fahey 9 81 0.99 1.36
11 Mrs K Burke 1 12 0.75 1.32
12 Chris Wall 2 15 1.19 1.27
13 Clive Cox 7 35 1.79 1.27
14 Henry Candy 1 11 0.81 1.23
15 Richard Hannon 21 139 1.35 1.16
16 Mark Johnston 8 61 1.17 1.15
17 Marcus Tregoning 2 17 1.05 1.15
18 Luca Cumani 4 26 1.38 1.10
19 John Gosden 23 130 1.58 1.09
20 Mahmood Al Zarooni 9 69 1.17 1.06

Table 3: Top 10 training yards by Sire adjusted IV in pattern races

Impact Values – Composite Measure

A composite IV is calculated by combining together the IVs for maidens, handicaps and pattern races by trainer, weighting by the proportion of runs that each trainer had in each category.  Thus a trainer without runners in pattern races would not be penalised for his non-participation, and the biggest contributor to each trainer’s IV is from the category of race in which they had the biggest proportion of runners. The composite measure was also adjusted for Sire IV. Using this measure Sir Mark Prescott Bt was the top trainer on the flat in 2012, followed by William Haggas and Marcus Tregoning. Noteworthy results were produced by Henry Candy, David Barron, Michael Appleby and Chris Wall, each of whom saw their IV increase after taking the Sire IV adjustment  into account. For 16 of the 20  trainers we see the opposite, suggesting that the adjustment for bloodstock quality used here via a Sire adjusted IV does not go far enough. I will return to this subject in another blog article. Thanks to Declan Meagher and others for making this point  on the separate blog post “Do Small Training Yards Punch Above Their Weight?’.

Rank Trainer IV raw IV SA
1 Sir Mark Prescott Bt 1.81 1.55
2 William Haggas 1.87 1.55
3 Marcus Tregoning 1.62 1.53
4 Saeed bin Suroor 1.86 1.52
5 Roger Varian 1.76 1.51
6 Peter Chapple-Hyam 1.59 1.51
7 Henry Candy 1.31 1.49
8 Sir Michael Stoute 1.91 1.48
9 Sir Henry Cecil 1.86 1.42
10 David Barron 1.25 1.42
11 Richard Hannon 1.52 1.41
12 Luca Cumani 1.59 1.40
13 Jeremy Noseda 1.53 1.39
14 Mrs K Burke 1.39 1.38
15 Michael Appleby 1.29 1.36
16 Chris Wall 1.34 1.35
17 Ralph Beckett 1.64 1.34
18 Roger Charlton 1.49 1.30
19 Tom Dascombe 1.37 1.29
20 David Simcock 1.34 1.27

Table 4: Top 20 training yards by composite IV adjusted for Sire

Training Yards Success & Relationship with Sire Quality

How many training yards are able to deliver improved IVs after the Sire adjustment is taken into account? Remember for successful yards the natural direction for the Sire adjustment to take your IV is downwards. This is because the better quality Sires make an outsized contribution in terms of siring winners. So the yards that are able to increase their IVs after this adjustment is applied are worthy of note. There are 10 yards out of the 66 – see Table 5 below –  that were able to deliver an adjusted composite IV both greater than 1 and higher than their raw composite IV. Henry Candy and David Barron’s results are noteworthy.

Rank Trainer IV comp IV comp SA Difference
1 Henry Candy 1.31 1.49 0.18
2 David Barron 1.25 1.42 0.18
3 Michael Appleby 1.29 1.36 0.07
4 Chris Wall 1.34 1.35 0.02
5 Brian Ellison 1.25 1.26 0.01
6 Kevin Ryan 1.11 1.22 0.11
7 James Given 1.01 1.15 0.14
8 John Quinn 1.12 1.15 0.03
9 Marco Botti 1.06 1.06 0.01
10 Alan Swinbank 1.00 1.02 0.01

Table 5: Top 10 trainers with improved IVs after Sire adjustment ranked on Sire adjusted IV

What of yards that see falls in their IVs after the Sire adjustment is applied? Table 6 ranks the 10 training yards most affected by the Sire IV adjustment. These yards are still highly successful – they still post IVs substantially greater than 1. However, using this metric suggests that these training yards are more reliant than others on the quality of their bloodstock for their success.

Rank Trainer IVcomp IVcomp SA
57 Roger Varian 1.76 1.51
58 Sir Mark Prescott Bt 1.81 1.55
59 James Fanshawe 1.50 1.24
60 Ralph Beckett 1.64 1.34
61 Mahmood Al Zarooni 1.51 1.19
62 William Haggas 1.87 1.55
63 Saeed bin Suroor 1.86 1.52
64 John Gosden 1.65 1.24
65 Sir Michael Stoute 1.91 1.48
66 Sir Henry Cecil 1.86 1.42

Table 6: Bottom 10 trainers with reduced IVs after Sire adjustment


In this paper the criteria used for measuring training yard success is a Sire Adjusted Impact Value derived from results delivered in maidens, handicaps and pattern races. Using this measure Sir Mark Prescott Bt was the top trainer on the flat in 2012. It is probable the Sire IV adjustment used does not go far enough in terms of correcting for quality and another blog post will address this point.  A small number of trainers produce IVs that improve after an adjustment for Sire quality is made. These training yards are of particular interest.  .

2 responses

  1. Excellent article Jason – really top stuff and plenty to think about there. I have done similar analysis in the past that has provided some very nice future wagers or provided confirmation/additional strength for selections found using other ‘angles’.

    I’d also say it’s really worth looking at the IVs of National Hunt sires on soft and heavy going split into hurdle, chase and bumper races…that can be very enlightening when the going is testing both here and in Ireland. Similarly Polytrack and Fibresand, they can provide much warmth through the winter months 😉

    • Hi Dave,
      Thanks for your comments. I’ve a couple more pieces of analysis to complete on this topic for the flat, then I’ll maybe look at National Hunt Sires and trainers – the code doesn’t need much tweaking.

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