Trainer in focus . . . Tom Dascombe.
HERO to zero may have become merely a cliched phrase to most of us, but for Tom Dascombe (below) it took on the ugly ring of truth in late summer when his horses, en masse, stopped performing to their potential. In August they had been flying, with his stable registering Group-race victories and enjoying a tremendous strike-rate, but then, without any warning, his team hit the buffers.
Not a single success was registered in September, and the Lambourn trainer closed his yard in an effort to solve the riddle, and only one runner, from 36, found the target last month.
This month, however, has brought a welcome turnaround and Dascombe, who runs Caprio in the Forest Row Handicap (12.30) and Plush in the Marsh Green Handicap (3.30) at Lingfield today, is once again the punters' friend, notching victories on a frequent basis.
He said yesterday: "The worst thing about September's bad run was that it happened so quickly.
"We'd been going along in great form and then overnight everything changed. The horses weren't doing it on the racecourse and it was hard to see why.
"They looked well and they worked well, but, when they got into races, there was nothing there. Only when they came home could you find anything wrong."
Whatever was ailing his string at that point has been overcome and both Caprio, beaten a nose last time out, and Plush, on a hat-trick, are in rude health.
Dascombe added: "Caprio is coming back from a layoff, but he's well and will soon be winning, even if not at Lingfield.
"Plush is in good nick and, as Ross Atkinson couldn't use his 7lb claim when he won an apprentice race on him at Wolverhampton last week from a mark of 55, the horse is effectively 1lb better off at Lingfield, despite his 6lb penalty taking him to a mark of 61.
"I know the figures don't always work out as you'd like them to, but he's progressive and we're very hopeful about his chance."