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Williams to turn up the heat; WATCHING THE TRAINERS.

THE horrendous weather at this time last year led to widespread fixture cancellations and, with several yards unable to train their horses properly, many of the figures for December 2010 can be regarded as atypical.

Venetia Williams, for example, is usually a trainer to rely on in December, but last year she had just one winner from 47 runners (2%/-42.00pt). The weather must have held up her string during that period, as in January her figures quickly improved to nine from 65 (14%/+73.75pt).

History suggests the Williams string peaks in December and, although she has sent out only four winners this season, those have all come in November, which hints at another purple patch in the next month.

The big yards seemed to cope best with last year's harsh winter and the figures suggest the best policy is to stick with them during the worst of the winter weather.

Nicky Henderson usually returns decent figures in December and last year he had a respectable nine winners from 48 runners (19%/5.49pt). The weather made little difference to Paul Nicholls, who barely broke stride with 12 winners from 46 runners (26%/+10.00pt).

Alan King also had decent figures during the December cold snap, sending out nine winners from 50 runners (18%/+20.21pt). He is behind schedule this term but can be expected to pick up in coming weeks.

David Pipe cannot match strides with Nicholls and Henderson for the entire season, but December is a month where he often tries to surpass them. Bar a blip in 2008, when his yard had a disappointing season overall, the Nicholashayne trainer usually delivers in December. His runners at Ascot's Christmas meeting on December 16-17 will be well worth a look as his strike-rate at the Berkshire venue is a handy 14 from 73 (19%/+50.93pt).

Kevin Morley
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Nov 30, 2011
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