January 23, 2021

Acorns – A Sly Combination

Pam Sly has a combined trainers licence for National Hunt and Flat Racing operating out of Park Farm in Thorney, Cambridgeshire. Park Farm is a working farm with her son Michael being the Farms Director and is an Open Farm which was started in 2006.

The Open Farm and Vintage Weekends are aimed at bringing “customers, families, local community groups, vintage enthusiasts and others together” and demonstrate how  the farm and nature can work hand in hand and also where you have the opportunity to pick your own spuds!

Back in April 2020 in an interview for Racing TV Pam described herself as “just a Fenland farmer”. A lady now in her late 70’s she clearly demonstrates that age is no barrier to being a successful trainer. In more than 30 years as a trainer she has more than proven herself. The winners may not be prolific but when they come they are without a doubt memorable.

Pam most famously trained the 1000 Guineas 2006 winner Speciosa (a daughter of Danehill Dancer) ridden by Micky Fenton and the horse still holds a special place in her heart.

Pam currently has around a dozen horses in training and although entries are not prolific, there may just be another Speciosa appearing one day.

Looking at her overall results for all runners over the period 2016-2020 inclusive a loss of just over 24 points for backing over 561 runners doesn’t seem a complete disaster in our books.

April 2016 saw her enjoy a very nice 532/1 double with Walsingham Grange (40/1) and Roxie Lot at (12/1). A shame we didn’t know about that one back then. Ahh hindsight a wonderful thing.

Year on year we can see that 2018 was a particular bad year but that aside there have been some nice priced winners.

As a combined trainer Pam runs her horses over all codes and as can be seen below the All Weather looks on first glance to be an area to avoid from a backing perspective.

The breakdown year on year shows that we would have been correct to avoid the All Weather runners.

By avoiding the All Weather runners and concentrating solely on the National Hunt and Flat Turf runners, the effect on our overall blind backing of Pam Sly runners in the past 5 years shows a clear positive.

That 2018 year still played a massive impact on the overall profits though.

Since 2006 there have been 2 other years which have been significant in their losses, 2007 and 2011, but since 2011, 2018 aside the returns from the Sly stable demonstrate that this “small” trainer knows what she is doing.

The overall win and place strike rate from the yard in the last 5 years (inclusive of 2018) over the National Hunt season and the Turf Flat Season have been pretty equal with a win strike rate of around 12.50% and a place strike rate of 33-35%.

Quite often we will interrogate the date further and try and pull out one or two race types of combinations which are stand out in terms of delivering positive returns, but it doesn’t feel as though it is going to be quite so simple here.

National Hunt Runners

Since 2019 to the date or writing (13th Jan 2021) there have been 100 National Hunt runs from the stable from just a handful of horses.

The standouts have been Eileendover (4yo), Fransham (7yo), Haafapiece (7yo) and Acertain Circus (11yo).

Eileendover was reported by Pam as the horse they have been waiting 14 years for. Eileendover is from the same line as Speciosa and has recorded the highest RPR of any bumper horse in Britain this season at 127.

The horse was run in the bumpers as according to Pam the horse has been slow to mature and as such they missed the 2020 Turf Flat season. 

Eileendover was due to run in the Bumper at Cheltenham on New Years Day but the meeting was abandoned but the trainer is definitely looking forward to running her on the flat this year.

Turf Flat Runners

A profit would have been had backing blindly since 2019, but that said, the profits came from 2019.

2020 was a difficult year for many and somehow we can not feel deterred by the performance of Pam’s runners during this past year.

We have a feeling in our waters that 2021 may prove to be a profitable flat turf campaign for the Pam Sly stable.

System 12: Follow Pam Sly trained runners on the Turf Flat for 2021.

The Female Combo

Our results also highlighted an interesting relationship between Pam Sly’s runners when ridden by Gina Andrews, which offered up a 66.67% strike rate, but sadly Gina took a tumble at Cheltenham in December when riding Haafapiece who crashed out at the final fence when narrowly in the lead in the 2m1f Handicap Hurdle. Gina was kicked in the face and fractured an eye socket and cheekbone.

We will however hope to see her back in the saddle again soon, and we will be paying particular attention to her when she is on a Pam Sly trained runner.

Another apprentice female jockey who has raised our interest is April Pearson who having had 12 rides for Pam Sly has managed to get her mount in to the places 50% of the time, in her first year as a jockey in 2020.

April started riding out for Pam at the age of 15 and road her first winner on Liam’s Lass on her second ride ever! One to watch out for.

System 13: Back Pam Sly trained runners when ridden by Gina Andrews or April Pearson.

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Steve Carter

Steve Carter is the Associate Editor of On Course Profits magazine. He has relied on his betting skills and knowledge for his income for the past 15+ years. He specialises in horse racing and football betting & trading and knows what it takes to make a living from betting. He is always looking for new angles for himself and On Course Profits readers.

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