Cheltenham 2023 day 1 selections

Research Corner – Clive Cox

Hi All

A golfing buddy of mine has enjoyed some punting success following a particular trainer and given the yard in question is Flat/AW based it seemed a good idea to take a closer look at his Modus Operandi.

Clive Cox

Since beginning his training career back in 1999, specialising on flat racing, Clive Cox has endeavoured to make his mark and has gone on to establish himself as one of Britain's leading trainers, with a reputable string of thoroughbreds.

He has a formidable record with training precocious sprinters – typically producing those bought more shrewdly – Cox is equally at home nurturing talented Group 1 winning two-year-olds, as he is planning and landing prominent handicap wins. 

The above is quite surprising given Clive Cox was formerly a National Hunt jockey and rode close to 100 winners in the saddle. Having switched to the training ranks he initially became Assistant Trainer to the late Mikie Heaton-Ellis, who tragically passed away in 1999 with Clive stepping up to take over the license.

In the spring of 2000 Cox and his team moved to Lambourn and set there stall out at Beechdown Stables, owned by former National Hunt Champion and racing broadcaster, John Francome.

20+ years on and Clive Cox’s proven aptitude for training thoroughbreds has seen him stable a myriad of success stories, from precocious sprinters to remarkable Group winners and Royal Ascot champions.  

2003 saw the yards Royal Ascot debut with the triumphant win of New Seeker in the Britannia Stakes Handicap. Beechdown Stables then celebrated their first taste of a Group One winner with Gilt Edge Girl winning the Prix De L’Abbaye at Longchamp in 2010.

Horses such as Reckless Abandon, Profitable and My Dreamboat have since followed suit, all with tremendous winning performances at Royal Ascot once again.

Lethal Force, a particular stable star favourite, added further to the stream of success from the Royal meeting before a record-breaking achievement with his 2013 win at Newmarket in the July Cup; an impressive accolade which, to this day, remains to be unbeaten.

​Another of Clive Cox’s recognised accomplishments was the incredibly talented Harry Angel – a globally acknowledged powerhouse of a sprinter, known also for his course record breaking capabilities over a number of Group One successes – previously owned by Peter Ridgers, before later bringing home further success under the famous Godolphin blue silks.

​In 2020 the yard proudly celebrated their ninth Royal Ascot win and tenth Group One success combined, with the pulse storming victory of Golden Horde in the Commonwealth Cup.

Clive Cox favours quality over quantity and his training record is an admirable reminder that although saddling a smaller yard to those wider strings of the classic and championship contenders, he is every bit as capable through his dedicated horsemanship, individualistic approach, and eye for talent. 

We will start our look-see with a look at the most recent decade of runners: –

The above shows a steady profile of 11%+ winning strike rate and a blind level stake profit to the Betfair SP over the 10 year period.

2022 proved to be a challenging year but 2023 has already started brightly with at the time of writing 13 winners from 64 runners and a profit to BFSP of a shade over 26 pts after comms deductions.

If we next look at the performance over the most recent decade by surface, we find the following: –

Both the AW and Flat turf runners have produced a similar winning strike rate of circa 14% but the former has made better gains as seen from the 9.38% ROI at the Betfair SP.

Next, we will drill down the AW runners to see if any of the tracks stand out on the stats.

Although Newcastle Tapeta only opened during 2016 the subsequent years have seen only 10 runners sent up there by the Clive Cox yard and these produced 3 winners which stand out, however, before we all start lumping on a quick check shows that all three came from the same horse, Tregony.

If we split the AW runners by race type, we find: –

System 13: Back the runners trained by Clive Cox when they are running in AW Handicaps.

This approach would have made solid gains in 5 of the most recent 10 years.

Until next time

Steve Carter

For our Gold members Steve takes a closer look at the Cox runners and finds a couple of interesting standout angles. To upgrade your account, click here.

Already a Gold or Platinum member? Read the full article in Issue 102