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Five National Hunt Trainers to follow for profit

Fergal O'Brien had his most successful season last year.
Fergal O'Brien had his most successful season last year.

As a punter, the main if not the only thing we look for when heading to the races is to leave with more money in our pocket than what we arrived with, giving us enough cash for the celebratory meal and pints of beer that will be consumed gleefully after, as we quip that “It’s basically cost us nothing this” - we’ve all been there. We all have our own way of picking these much sought after winners, but we’ve taken a look at 100 of the best trainers (by winners) and trawled through the stats from last season to identify who could help you fill your pocket.

Fergal O’Brien
2019/20 Profit (£1 Stake): £1.30

Best horse (By earnings): Champagne Well
Obviously, it’s very unlikely that any of the highest calibre trainers will return a profit as they churn out multiple runners on a daily basis, drastically reducing their chances of profit per runner, but this isn’t the case for Fergal O'Brien. While other great trainers of the game battle it out for Cheltenham Festival glory, O'Brien and his team at Ravenswell Farm quietly go about their business, scooping wins in every corner of the country impressively and frequently - making him the second winningmost trainer to actually see a return on investment to a £1 stake in the 2019/20 season (Behind David Pipe who was 60p better off). Admittedly, you would have only £1.30 more in your pocket than you started with if you backed all of his 330 runners last season, which may just about get you a side dish for your celebratory meal (depending on the calibre of restaurant you frequent), but the 2020/21 season could be better still for the ex assistant trainer to Nigel Twiston-Davies.

Already on 36 winners for the season - 28 less than they managed for the entire of the 2019/20 season - O'Brien’s horses look dangerous every time they hit the track, and with the now complete state of the art facilities at Ravenswell offering one of the best places in the country to train horses, It’ll be no surprise to see him smash through last season's record and make the winner's enclosure a second home. Already operating on +£31.15 to a £1 stake for the season, it may be very wise to keep track of his entries.

Ruth Jefferson
2019/20 Profit (£1 Stake): £16.72
Best horse (By earnings): Clondow Castle
If you pull up Ruth Jefferson’s stats you’ll note quite quickly how impressive they are, as this season she’ll be looking for her third straight season finishing in the black. Her 2018/19 season saw her walk away with +£66.33, 2019/20 was still a very impressive +£16.72 and she’s currently on +£6 for the current year, making her one of the most profitable trainers to follow in the country. What is also notable is how little she actually has a runner, going to the races on only 58 occasions last season - winning on 12 of those visits, finishing second nine times and bringing home the bronze medal five times, meaning that nearly half of the horses she sends out finish in the top three. Of course, she is most known for training Grade 1 winner Waiting Patiently, but with stats like these to boast it’s certainly going to be worth your while to follow her other runners throughout the year.

Rebecca Curtis
2019/20 Profit (£1 Stake): £71.05
Best horse (By earnings): Lisnagar Oscar
The second most profitable trainer to follow last year, putting £1 on all of Rebecca Curtis’ runners last season would have seen you firmly in profit for the year with an extra +£71.05 in your wallet - you could have quite the celebratory meal for that. In fact, that offers nearly a 100% return on investment as she only had 78 runners last year, winning on 20 occasions and filling the top three spots 40 times. It’s not just an anomaly either, she showed profit in 2018/19, albeit a far smaller amount of £3.29, and this season hasn’t got off to a bad start by any means, currently only £2 out of pocket. Having jumped back into the limelight last year after landing the Stayers’ Hurdle with 50/1 chance Lisnagar Oscar - her first Grade 1 win for six years, there is a danger that her horses won’t be quite as underestimated by the bookies as they have been in previous seasons, but you still can’t ignore a trainer that would have doubled your money last season.

Ben Haslam
2019/20 Profit (£1 Stake): £21.50
Best horse (By earnings): Demi Sang
If, from April 1st 2018, you put £1 on every runner Ben Haslam has had under National Hunt rules, you’d currently be showing a profit of £166.80, as for both the last two seasons and the current one he’s finished - impressively - in the black. 2018/19 saw him walk away with a cool +£69.30 and last year's haul of +£21.50 is not to be snarled at either. This year he’s already +£76 better off than he started with and if history is to tell us anything, that won’t be shrinking below zero any time soon. A very shrewd trainer who is evidently quite meticulous with his placings, it really is worth combing through his big-priced runners to find the giveaway, especially when they’re running in the green and gold of JP McManus, who isn’t exactly known for a shying away from a gamble.

James Moffatt
2019/20 Profit (£1 Stake): £91.91
Best horse (By earnings): The Steward
The most profitable trainer to follow last season, James Moffatt is one of the most consistently profitable trainers to follow, recording profit in four of his last five seasons (including the current year). He’ll be a recognisable name for those that have followed the game for over a decade, with 2007 Sefton Novices' Hurdle winner Chief Dan George being the flag bearer for the Cartmel based stable, though graded winners have been few and far between since then - winning only the Becher Chase in 2015 with Highland Lodge. But though his big stage victories may be behind him, he has continually pumped out some impressive winners from what is quite a small stable. Looking through his results you’ll see he has a rather fruitful relationship with smart claimer Charlotte Jones - who has ridden all of his winners so far this season - so it’s always worth seeing if one of his is down to a workable mark with Jones on the back, who herself boasts a lifetime return of +£123.50. A smart handler with a smart jockey on board, usually at a rather juicy price. Take note.

2021 Cheltenham Festival
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