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Jim Best

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  • #5951
    • Total Posts 167

    Very interesting to read the article on Jim Best in todays Post.

    He was quite disparaging of some other trainers and how unfit some of their horses are, and in so many words said that he looks for horses that run ok in sellers & claimers despite not looking fit, then claims them and gets them fit. Does anyone which trainers he has claimed horses from?

    • Total Posts 3214

    Three of his recent successes have come via Ascot Sales – Rapscallion (H Dalton), Dundridge Native (M Madgwick) and Lady Pilot (J Doyle).

    The pattern of the winners is much the same as others that practice the ‘get them hard fit at home’ regime – it works much better with stayers than with sprinter/milers. He got three wins out of Lady Pilot on the flat, but is 0/11 with the two horses he has run at shorter trips.

    The other problem he’ll have is that once these horses win, they climb too high in the handicap to repeat the dose. So you have to keep finding new ones to replace them, which opens the door to accusations of high turnover.

    Does any of this sound familiar?


    • Total Posts 1708

    Misbehaviour was previously with the Gary Moore yard so he wont be happy

    Rapscallion was with the decent Heather Dalton stable.

    Forzacurity was with PD Evans

    Double Magnum was with PE Cowley and Green Propsect was with the MJ McGrath yard

    Brendar apparently was bought after watching it run on ATR whilst it was with Patrick Flynn.

    Dance WithWolves was with the DP Keane yard

    Whilst Wotchalike was with PJ Price

    The one that runs today Dundridge Native was with Michael Madgwick

    Hidden Weapon who had never completed a race before Jim got it to win first time out was with another Sussex trainer Lawrence Wells.
    (see previous posts) :D :D

    Lady Pilot came from Jaqui Doyles and as AP has stated won 3 out of 3 on the AW and is now a decent hurdler.
    Well backed every time incidentally.

    Jim and Tom are getting a lot of interest at present but to those that wish to have some fun with a horse at very little expense hard to find someone doing better at present.
    They do like owners to get money on the ones they fancy!

    The horses are trained at the old Lewes racecourse which is high on the Sussex Downs and on the same gallops that Towser Gosden used many years ago.

    Watch out AP they may claim Salute yet and run that in some small hurdle race. You never know!

    • Total Posts 4491

    I do very much like their approach of picking up horses from bad trainers, as most of those on that list are. I’m surprised they are trying to improve one off Gary Moore, that strikes me as a thankless and rather fruitless venture.

    • Total Posts 1708

    Jim Best got Misbehaviour from former Lewes trainer Tom Mc Govern he had 1 win with it and two seconds it then went to Gary Moore who failed to get it to win and Jim got it for next to nothing.

    Its now owned by some of the regulars at The Engineer pub in Brighton had a quiet run the other day and is out very soon!

    • Total Posts 6965

    I do very much like their approach of picking up horses from bad trainers, as most of those on that list are.

    Indeed. To that end I await the purchase and subsequent igniting of Cave of the Giant, Jug of Punch and Wee Sean with glee.


    The patron saint of lower-grade fare. A gently critical friend of point-to-pointing. Kindness is a political act.

    • Total Posts 329

    The article should be re-named ‘How To Make Friends And Influenece People’.
    Misbehaviour – I doubt Gary Moore is loosing any sleep.
    Rapscallion – Winning a novice hcp hurdle(off 93) with a former group 3 winner is hardly performance of the century.
    Forzacurity – Has won in his turn, off a mark of 83, previous hwm 95.
    Double Magnum – Good win, but on bumper form was probably at least 20ib well in.
    Green Prospect – Won off 92, previous btn 2l off 117.
    Brendar – Probabaly the best training performance in this list.
    Dance With Wolves – Brought the horse back up to his novice form, but hasnt improved as of yet.
    Dundridge Native – Another good training performance.
    Hidden Weapon – Hard to judge the training performance seeing as the last trainer is so dire.
    Lady Pilot – Rated 70 out of maidens, so winning off 58 should have been expected.
    Wotchalike – Should be fully expected to hack up off 100, after being rated 117 out of novices, especially factoring in the change of scenery for a jaded character.
    My point being, yes some good training feats accomplished, but nothing that isn’t being done day in day out by trainers who dont quite believe so much of their own bullsh’t.

    • Total Posts 3901

    My point being, yes some good training feats accomplished, but nothing that isn’t being done day in day out by trainers who dont quite believe so much of their own bullsh’t.

    Absolutely … like Gordon Elliott with Silver Birch out of some other fella’s yard! :D

    Seven Towers
    • Total Posts 608

    Will this article be available online anytime or is it just in the paper?

    • Total Posts 2778

    Im an admirer of theirs but I too felt the tone of the article was a little unfortunate. If I were them I’d have kept my thoughts on the horse’s fitness to myself and attributed the success to a change of scene and routine- as it stands a lot of people will now wish them ill…….

    • Total Posts 40

    I’m sure if you read the South Wales trainer’s handbook – they all claim to have improved the horses fitness BUT that list of horses Jim has managed to win with appears like the first port of call for any blood donating requests.
    It almosts gives the impression Lewes racecourse is entering the equine fitness health club market….

    Grey Desire
    • Total Posts 1904

    Horse Racing: BEST INTENTIONS
    Interview Jim and Tom Best

    Jim Best is the name on the racecard, but the trainer’s recent success – built in the main on turning other stables’ lost causes into winners – owes much to the input of his younger brother, former dual-purpose jockey Tom.

    Daniel Hill went to meet the pair who have rapidly become the toast of punters

    THE previous trainer of a horse Jim Best recently purchased, for a sum you couldn’t buy an inch of mane with at last week’s Newmarket Tattersalls sale, says to an acquaintance of Best’s in the owners’ bar at Plumpton: "I hear there’s a whisper for X the horse in question.
    I don’t know why. It’s never won before."
    Best, overhearing the conversation, replies: "Well, I guess we’ll see whether I can train or not." The horse duly wins, earning the comment in the official form book: ‘eased flat, very easily’.
    If that anecdote is anything to go by, then Best can indeed train horses, but you would be excused if you had never heard of him, or got him confused with Kent-based trainer John Best (no relation). However, Best and his brother Tom (Jim’s name is on the licence, but this is very much a partnership) have one of the top strike-rates this jumps season. With nine winners from 31 runners, their strike-rate of 29 per cent is better than all of the top 30 jumps trainers in this campaign.
    They have been wizards at transforming horses other trainers can’t win with, and the list of bargain buys is impressive. Lady Pilot, bought for 4,500gns in February, subsequently won four times; Dundridge Native, bought for 3,000gns in June, is now two out of two for the Bests; Rapscallion, 6,500gns in April, has improved by more than a stone according to Racing Post Ratings. Their string has grown from eight at the start of the year to 22. This is a stable going places.
    Based at Grandstand Stables, ten miles from Plumpton, on the site of defunct Lewes racecourse on the bitterly cold Sussex Downs – where Gordon Smyth trained 1966 Derby winner Charlottown – the Bests have been regulars in trainer-in-form columns in the trade papers. So, what’s the secret of their success?
    It helps when you’ve worked in racing yards from the age of 12, and when you’ve always been obsessed with racing. Jim, 27 – two years older than Tom – explains: "We were fanatics from an early age. We used to write down something and keep a record about every horse who won a race.
    "Nobody in my family was into horses. We got into it from watching racing on a Saturday. Every day we got The Sporting Life and the Racing Post. We liked to pick out the winners, and look at jockeys’ styles because both of us always wanted to be jockeys. Then we had riding lessons."
    The lessons led to the pair working for the likes of Josh Gifford, Richard Rowe and Terry Casey at weekends, where they did a full day’s riding out.
    Tom developed into a top amateur, winning the Bollinger series on the Flat, before riding for Toby Balding as a conditional over jumps, the highlight of his career being victory in the 2004 Sefton Novices’ Hurdle on Accipiter. Meanwhile, Jim "just messed about as a conditional and amateur".
    However, the Bests were always infatuated with training. When they got into the game, Martin Pipe was winning almost everything, and the Pond House genius was a big influence. Jim says: "We were fascinated by how his horses went out in front, like Hopscotch, Olympian and The Blue Boy, and never came back. Pipe used to turn them around.
    Stable lads from yards we worked at used to say ‘they’ll never win a race’, and then Pipe would get them and transform them."
    Tom adds: "We always wanted to be trainers, and I was always watching what trainers did, what feed they used, what they did on the gallops.
    "After Pipe, Paul Nicholls came along, and the way he worked his horses was totally different to any other trainer. He would get his horses 100 per cent fit – nothing ever lacking. If you looked in the paddock, Pipe’s and Nicholls’ horses stood out as being fitter."
    Tom spent a couple of years with Nicholls, and much of what he learned there seems to be a major factor in the Bests’ success. The issue of fitness is always high on their agenda.
    Tom says: "When we work a horse for the first time, it’s usually absolutely knackered, and we slowly build them up to our fitness level.
    They then go through a flat period, and then we get them absolutely spot-on."
    JIM adds: "We get horses from other yards who may have run four times in a month, but their overall condition is lacking. Some trainers think they have their horses fit, but they’re not ‘hard’ fit. There are so many levels of fitness, and we can build them up.
    "When we claim a horse, we don’t run it a couple of days later like some people do. We like to turn it around, and that’ll take about six weeks."
    Jim admits it "was a great relief" when they trained their first winner, River Amora in a selling handicap chase at Fontwell in May 2005.
    That season they had six winners, last term they had eight, and that figure has already been bettered this season. Their confidence has now grown to such an extent that sometimes they are sure a horse will win a race.
    Jim says: "We spent a lot of time looking at horses in the paddock, seeing whether they were fit. And now, when we have a horse running, and we think there are two dangers, we look at the dangers in the paddock and we can almost toss them out just by looking at them, because they’re not fit. And then we’re convinced our horse will win the race."
    As well as fitness, riding tactics play a big part. Tom says: "When we get a horse, we look through its form and find out how it should be ridden.
    That’s something I learned from Toby Balding. The reason he’s brought so many jockeys on Tony McCoy was under Balding’s tutelage is because he’s an excellent race-reader.
    "We try different tactics on the gallops. We’ll try them in front or behind. Lady Pilot is an example. She used to make the running but we tried dropping her in, and that’s how she should be ridden because she’s such a strong traveller.
    "That’s why we like using Robert Lucey-Butler a lot. We’ve known him for years, and we spend hours on the phone with him going over how each horse should be ridden."
    A clean-living pair – neither of them smoke or drink – their dedication to their task is impressive.
    They seem to eat, sleep and drink racing. Tom admits to having no hobbies outside work, while Jim has wife Susie and two-year-old son Henry (with another on the way) to look after, and says he likes to go to the cinema occasionally.
    Touring the stables, Tom knows the handicap mark of every horse in the yard, and how much the handicapper put it up for its last run. Wotchalike is put forward as the horse most likely to end my losing run. The gallop, which resembles the back straight at Exeter, is a stern test, and it’s little surprise that the yard’s horses arrive at the racecourse super-fit.
    You could be forgiven for thinking that the Bests’ next aim is to get a winner at a big meeting, but this isn’t a high priority. Jim says: "We’re not worried about going to Cheltenham. The main priority is to win. We don’t set long-term goals, we just want to win races with the horses we’ve got. It would kill us if a horse left here without winning, then won a race."
    Now in their fourth season, the main objective is to get more horses.
    Jim says: "To get another 50 would be nice, but the ambition is to get to the top, or near the top, like Evan Williams, who’s managed to break through. But we don’t want to get 50 horses, make a living and be happy being a 50-horse trainer. We want to go right to the top."
    With the dedication shown so far, who’s betting that they won’t?
    Age Jim 27, Tom 25
    Based Grandstand Stables, Lewes, East Sussex
    Licence since 2005
    Horses in training 22
    First winner River Amora, Fontwell, May 29 2005
    By season (jumps)
    2004-05: 0 winners from 10 runners
    2005-06: 6-29
    2006-07: 8-34
    2007-08: 9-31
    By season (Flat)
    2005: 0-4
    2006: 0-10
    2007: 3-14

    • Total Posts 3901

    Nothing arrogant in there IMO – just honesty and nothing wrong with that

    • Total Posts 2778

    I didn’t say they were arrogant, I just think other trainers won’t be thrilled with the implication that they can’t get their horses fit, which may well be true but doesn’t need publication in the trade daily.

    • Total Posts 1708

    The Cheekster
    Guess you dont like them.

    However Jim and Tom have never seeked the publicity.

    I posted on this site on 21 Nov how well they were doing and you saw fit to find faults then.

    This is before recent articles in ‘Trainers Trends’ in the Racing Post and the big feature on them yesterday again in the RP.
    Both racing channels have also mentioned how well the stable has been doing and both Jim and Tom turned down an interview at Plumpton recently.
    They have not created the bull***t as you put it.
    Its down to results.

    The value of the total horses they train is not as high as even one of the superstars that reside in Ditcheat, Seven Barrows or at Howard Johnsons but a 5/1 winner at Plumpton is just as good as a 5/1 winner at Cheltenham.

    When Martin Pipe stated to get results again at the start with moderate horses others including trainers such as Charlie Mann thought it was down to blood transfusions and other dodgy practices but the simple fact was he was getting horses fit and many with Scudamore on board simply ran off in front and the fitness got many home in front.

    There was a problem with Martin Pipe’s yard as some owners such as the Mac/Fowler partnership and David Johnson were privvy to what was expected to win whilst other owners were in the dark.

    With the Best stable anyone remotely involved gets to know what is expected.

    If you look at the post on 28th Nov the message was Lady Pilot would win (which it did) and the other runner ‘had settled in well and as the race was so poor do a small ew bet on it but leave the exchanges alone”)
    In the shops it opened at 40/1 and straight into 25/1.

    At least they know they can get horses fit and just as important know the strenght in the opposition.

    Finally the stats show
    Season 2005/06 20.6%
    Season 2006/07 23.5%
    Season 2007/08 29.0% (so far)

    nothing more to add!

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