Winds Of Change Amongst Training Ranks
As of today Mark Kavanagh, with 35 winners, is the leading Metropolitan winning trainer in Australia for the first time post November.
At the end of the 2008/09 season the former South Australian trainer was not even in the top 20 metropolitan winning trainers in fact he only just snuck into the top 10 in Victoria.
So why is he on top now? Well the simple answer is numbers.
Kavanagh has doubled his stable size and the number of runners he would’ve had to this time last year.
But that’s just the simple answer; of course we all know there are plenty of stables that have had more runners than Mark.
There are a number of factors for his current success including: a greater number of runners; an incredible team of horses; arguably better training facilities.
However the two most determining factors are that he has his horses mentally and physically well and places them phenomenally.
He puts the right horse, in the right race, when they are feeling great and now he has enough of them to make a big splash in the Australian racing industry.
Case in point is Shocking's preparation for the Melbourne Cup.
It was precise, the lead up went to plan, the final Lexus Stakes tune up was calculated to perfection and the horse was spot on physically and mentally on the day so much so that even when everything went pear-shaped in the run with Kavanagh slumped, shaking his head in dismay, the horse was still able to produce under pressure.
There were better horses in the race, and some unlucky, but essentially those that had the runs to beat Shocking were over the top mentally – they were cooked.
This placement and planning is apparent in his chess like moves of horses to and from Adelaide throughout the carnival resulting in multiple winners across state lines on numerous occasions.
Not just the odd fluke.
Whilst Kavanagh heads this rejuvenated trainers premiership, missing names such as Waterhouse, Freedman and Parnham from its highest rungs, he is by no means Robinson Crusoe.
Hot on Kavanagh's tail, sitting second on the table, is New South Wales equivalent Chris Waller (34 wins).
Waller is endeavouring to put pressure on the mighty Waterhouse (20 wins) and Snowden (30 wins) teams and like Kavanagh now has the numbers to make a serious challenge.
Then there are Perth upstarts Jim Taylor (26.5 wins) and Adam Durrant (19 wins), both are riding the crest of a wave at present and barely a meeting goes by without one or both training a winner - or two.
Taylor's winning percentage of almost 30% has him perched above Freedman (22 wins) and Moody (23 wins) in fifth spot, yet he is not nearly as well known.
Durrant meanwhile manages to grab the tenth spot forcing out top ten stalwarts Parnham, Goggin and Price despite having only the 88 runners.
Of course Hayes (32 wins) and Snowden manage to hold their positions in the top 5 albeit due to their vastly larger number of runners, but the tide is turning and some of the once smaller players like Waller and Kavanagh are getting bigger and so are their percentages.
It is only early days this season but the weight of numbers certainly suggest a changing of the guard - and perhaps a new king at the top of the trainer's table.
Picture - Quentin Lang
© Cyberhorse 2009 Grayson White Published 27/11/09